Kolkata: The all-important and much awaited (AFC) meeting of the stakeholders organised by the Asian Football Confederation in Kuala Lumpur on the 7th of June yielded no result whatsoever about the immediate future of Indian football. But for the medium and long-term future, an independent research would be commissioned which would ensure that there is plan put to place after the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year.
According to an AFC release, the short-term format would be decided by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). Former I-League champions Mohun Bagan wants that meeting to be held on the 12th of June.
But this appeal of the Kolkata club could be opposed in the AIFF executive committee’s meeting on Thursday, according to an official. Much against the hopes of the I-League clubs, the chances of the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League being simultaneously held is alive for now.
According to reports from the Hindustan Times, an I-League club from Mumbai said , “What is important is that Fifa and AFC have decided they would work on a proposed structure taking into account the contributions of different clubs and their history. They realise that India is at a stage of transition. So, rather they (representatives of Fifa and AFC) help decide how football should be structured in India than some random people,”
The meeting was chaired by AFC general secretary Dato Windsor John in which at least one FIFA representative was present. AIFF President Praful Patel, senior vice-president Subrata Dutta along with some representatives from the Union ministry were also present at the meeting.
The official said, “We have been experimenting for a few years and maybe we will again so, to me, that is of little or no consequence” when asked as to how the next season of football in India would actually turn out be.
The meeting couldn’t have a proper decision at the end of it due to a representative from India, who had to leave as he had a flight to catch. Another official confirmed, “Before the meeting could take up what needs to be done this season, it had to break up because one of the representatives from India had a flight to catch.”
This official further went on to state that there was no development as to whether the ISL winners will get an AFC cup berth in 2019 or not. It could possibly depend on whether Bengaluru FC’s bid to play the ISL is accepted or not. Also, he didn’t completely count out the chances of a restructured Federation Cup which would comprise of both ISL and I-League teams with the winners going on to get an AFC cup berth.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)