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‘Roadmap’ for Indian club football to be presented at AFC meeting

General Secretary, All India Football Federation Kushal Das addresses dignitaries during day two of Soccerex Asia on December 5, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The All India Football Federation has invited the country’s two domestic leagues and their clubs to a meeting at Asian Football Confederation headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the future of the club game in the country.

Goal.com reports that the AIFF is aiming to end confusion over the relationship between the two leagues – the Indian Super League and the I-League – and the abilities of their teams to qualify for AFC continental competitions. The federation and the AFC will present a ‘roadmap’ for the future of India club football.

The Hindu newspaper reports that AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said: “The AFC, in consultation with the AIFF, will give a presentation on what they think is the right structure for the future of Indian football.”

He suggested that clubs would be given a say on the plan, and then the AFC would make a final decision about it: “The clubs can (approve or deny) or they may not. The final decision will be with the AFC.”

The meeting will take place on October 14.

AIFF officials including president Praful Patel and general secretary Das have been meeting with the AFC, including with general secretary Dato Windsor John, to create the roadmap. The latest meetings took place last week in Malaysia.

In June, the AIFF announced the ISL would take over from the I-League India’s AFC Champions League qualifier slot from 2019-20. This effectively means the ISL takes over as India’s top-tier football league. The I-League has protested and asked for the introduction of promotion and relegation to allow its clubs access to the ISL.

Goal.com reports that I-League teams Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have had talks with the ISL and AIFF about switching to the ISL.

The 2019-20 season for the ISL begins on October 20, and for the I-League on November 16.

The Indian Super League is run by Football Sports Development Ltd. The company is a subsidiary of IMG-Reliance, the Indian sports and entertainment marketing joint-venture between international marketing group IMG and Indian conglomerate Reliance. The Hindu reports that FSDL will be among the stakeholders attending the October 14 meeting.