I-League to include more clubs this season
Image credit: I-league Media
After the All India Football Association (AIFF) had issued a notice inviting bids from new clubs to participate in this year’s I-League, four new teams have come up with their bids.
Teams from Bengaluru, Kerala, Gujarat and Rajasthan are said to have bid in the hope of earning a place in the I-League.
The club that wins the bid will not only play in this year’s league but will also have the right to compete in the I-League each year and will also be allowed to compete in AFC Club Competitions, if they qualify.
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar, said that the club that is selected will be “Granted the right to own and operate a new club which will compete in the I-League in each year from 2017 onwards and will have the opportunity to compete in the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Club Competitions.”
“We are looking forward to welcoming the vibrant outfits in the Hero I-League. The new entrants will surely bring newer challenges and fresh Football dynamics which will provide more competitiveness and thrill to the League,” added Dhar.
After the I-League club Bengaluru FC decided to join the ISL, the football governing body of India had invited bids from various parts of the country that included, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ranchi, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Malappuram and Trivandrum.
With the hugely popular Bengaluru FC Club gone to the ISL, the AIFF was desperate to have a club from that region, which promoted Ozone FC to submit their bid.
Ozone FC from Bengaluru and Gokulam FC from Kerala have submitted their bids. Both the clubs play in the second division of the I-League and have been for a long time trying to step into the I-League. Their addition along with the new clubs from Rajasthan and Gujarat who have submitted their bids, will definitely give a new dimension to the League.
While the addition of Ozone FC will definitely be a huge boost for both the club and the league, the addition of Gokulam FC will for the first time see a club from Kerala play in the I-League, ever since Chirag United’s relegation from the League in the 2011-12 season.
The League also has never seen a club from the western region of the country play in it’s 10 years of existence and if a club from Gujarat or Rajasthan is added, a new history will be written.
The AIFF is set to meet on 18th of August to decide about the future of the I-League and also take a decision about which new club should be included in the League.
Both the I-League and the ISL are set to run parallelly this year and this move from the board will allow the I-League to be more competitive and bring in more audience. The addition of new clubs from new regions will also allow the I-League to bring out more players which will definitely benefit Indian football in the long run.