New Delhi: After much contemplation, both the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League clubs have refused to participate in the 2nd Indian Women’s League, leaving the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in a spot of bother.
Owing to the fair amount of success the inaugural Women’s League has achieved, it was expected that a host of clubs from across both the leagues will lend their hand of support for developing the current state of women’s football in India, but after assurances they have all moved back.
“It’s extremely disappointing that despite assurances, we haven’t got any entry from either any ISL or I-League,” said Kushal Das, general secretary of the AIFF.
The format of the IWL games, grants a direct entry to the ISL and I-League clubs in the final round of the league but none of the club’s have yet confirmed their participation.
While the huge cost of managing one more team may have prevented the franchises and respective clubs from fielding a women’s team, the low platform to generate revenue and attract audience also may have played a role in discouraging them from taking women’s football on a more serious note.
But Das was hopeful of the club’s soon changing their perspective towards women’s football.
“Hopefully, they will understand the importance of women’s football and rethink about their participation in the sole (national) women’s league in country,” he said.
He also further added that the “AIFF is also contemplating in making the participation in IWL as part of the AIFF licensing criteria” so as to attract interest from various clubs across the country.
The inaugural edition of the Indian Women’s League had kicked off in January 2017, in Delhi and had eight teams participating in the competition. FC Pune City was the only ISL franchise to field a women’s team.
Manipur’s Eastern Sporting Union had won the first edition of the tournament.