New Delhi, March 20
Six I-League clubs, including newly-crowned Chennai City FC, on Wednesday expressed their willingness to compete in the Super Cup if the national federation addresses their concerns about the impending restructuring of the domestic football leagues.
Several clubs are worried that the I-League may be relegated to the second tier in the domestic restructuring in the coming season on the direction of Asian Football Confederation.
These clubs have sought a meeting with All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel to discuss the issues concerning them.
Some of them, including former champions Minerva Punjab FC and Aizawl FC, as well as Gokulam Kerala, did not turn up in the qualifying round of the Super Cup in Bhubaneswar.
The AIFF, through general secretary Kushal Das, sought confirmation from six I-League clubs — East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Neroca FC, Churchill Brothers, Real Kashmir FC and Chennai City FC — on whether they would take part in the Super Cup main tournament which begins on March 29 in Bhubaneswar. These six clubs were directly seeded into Round of 16.
Three of these and three other I-League clubs — Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala — responded in a letter, asking AIFF to hear out their concerns first. East Bengal, Neroca and Real Kashmir did not sign the letter.
“While we are keen to participate in the Super Cup, a discussion about the future of the I-League is equally important. We look forward to your confirmation to our meeting which will help us confirm our participation,” the clubs stated in a letter to Das.
The letter also suggested a fresh start of the qualifying round. “All the undersigned clubs...are eager to play the Super Cup from the qualifying round.”
The letter also called for the creation of a 20-team unified league, to be called the Indian Football League, comprising clubs from I-League, Indian Super League and I-League second division.
“...we are looking for a meeting with Praful Patel to address the concerns of the I-League clubs, including the creation of a unified league composed of ISL, I-League and clubs from the second division,” the letter continued.
The proposed league will be played for nine months, from September to May. — PTI