Note: This report has been updated after All Indian Football Federation issued a clarification on the original report published by Sportstar on the possible reversal of Indian football’s roadmap.
The All India Football Federation has called for a meeting with state federations where technical director Isac Doru will make a presentation regarding the non-relegation of teams from the I-League this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the AIFF announced on Twitter.
Earlier, Sportstar had reported that there will also be a discussion around reversing the decision to allow relegation in the ISL from 2024-’25 season which is originally mentioned in Indian football’s roadmap that the AIFF had announced in 2019 after agreement with all stakeholders and approval of AFC.
However, the AIFF clarified that the meeting, which will also be attended by AIFF president Praful Patel, will be restricted to discussing the non-relegation of teams from I-League only and there are no plans to alter the agreed roadmap.
“The presentation from Mr. Isac Doru at the informal meet with State FAs tomorrow (April 30, 2021) pertains solely to non-relegation of Hero I-League teams for this season in view of the pandemic and similar decisions being taken by leagues across the world,” the AIFF wrote in their tweet.
“His proposal will be reviewed by a relevant committee for a further decision. The AIFF further reiterates that the road map for club football has been agreed by all stakeholders and signed off by AIFF and AFC and the question of any review doesn’t arise,” the AIFF added.
An official though had mentioned to Sporstar that the ISL and the franchise owners were not happy with the prospect of relegation as it would hurt chances of any investment in the league.
“I think they (the league and club owners) are not happy with the proposal (relegation), so they might be pulling the AIFF to take a decision that there will not be a relegation from the ISL,” an official was quoted as saying by the website.
“Nobody will want to buy a team if there is a danger of the club being relegated. If someone buys a club for Rs 200 crore and if there is a risk of relegation in the same year, who will pay such a huge amount,” the official had added.
In October 2019, the AIFF announced its new roadmap for Indian football that had the provision for the winners of the 2022-’23 and 2023-’24 I-League to be promoted into the ISL. ISL that was made the top tier of Indian football then was to have relegation from the 2024-’25 season onwards.
AIFF's roadmap for club football in India
|Roadmap||Promotion / relegation details||Remarks|
|Year 1 (2019-'20)||No promotion & relegation in ISL|
|Year 2 (2020-'21)||No promotion & relegation in ISL||Two clubs from I-League to be offered entry into ISL by end of season|
|Year 3 (2021-'22)||No promotion & relegation in ISL||League format (name of league, number of teams etc) to be decided by AIFF for implementation|
|Year 4 (2022-'23)||Winner of I-League to be promoted to ISL, no relegation||No entry fee; no distribution of central revenue for the promoted club; only by sporting merit facilities, & national club licensing criteria|
|Year 5 (2023-'24)||Winner of I-League to be promoted to ISL, no relegation||No entry fee; no distribution of central revenue for the promoted club; only by sporting merit facilities, & national club licensing criteria|
|Year 6 (2024-'25)||One main league & one knock-out cup tournament, promotion & relegation to be implemented|