The All India Football Federation, on Tuesday, requested the Asian Football Confederation to consider granting a spot in the AFC Champions League for the winner of the Indian Super League.
The plea was made after an AIFF meeting in New Delhi, where various issues regarding the domestic structure of Indian football was discussed.
In a statement, the AIFF said: “The AIFF Executive Committee met on July 9 in Delhi and discussed various issues including the request letter that the champions of Indian Super League would get a berth for the qualifiers of the AFC Champions League.
“In light of the MRA as well as the fact that in the last five years the entire Indian national squad are mostly being signed/playing for the Indian Super League clubs, and the TV viewership and in stadia audience having grown far more substantially vis a vis the I-League, and the Indian Super League clubs complying with the entire AFC Club licensing criteria, including strong grassroots, and youth development programmes which had also been certified by the Asian Football Confederation, the AIFF Executive Committee recommends to the Asian Football Confederation to positively consider their request.”
The AIFF has asked also asked the AFC to send a delegation to find a solution with the ongoing conflict between ISL and I-League – the two main domestic leagues in Indian win.
“Further, as the issues of I-League, I-League clubs and the future roadmap of Indian Football including a unified League are important issues which need to be resolved in a time bound manner, the AIFF Executive Committee requests the Asian Football Confederation to send a high-level delegation led by Dato Windsor John, General Secretary, Asian Football Confederation at the earliest to discuss this issue with all stakeholders of Indian Football including our commercial partners FSDL to arrive at a fair solution,” the statement read.
On Monday, six I-League clubs – Aizawl FC, Minerva Punjab FC, Quess East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala FC – wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene on the matter.
AIFF said: “In the meeting of the I-League clubs along with the AIFF president, and the general secretary, held on July 3, 2019 in Delhi, some broad proposals were discussed, and a joint statement was issued by AIFF and the I-League clubs.
“These amicable discussions were to be presented to the AFC Executive Committee for further consideration. However, on July 8, 2019, the clubs via a letter released to the media have taken a contrary stand which is not in the spirit with which the AIFF president had met the clubs. As a result, we have therefore, asked the AFC to find a possible solution.”