AIFF bars Chennai City from I-League 2021-22, names Kenkre as replacement

Kenkre FC, which finished second in the I-League qualifiers, will replace the former champion. The I-League will kick-off in Kolkata from December 26.

Chennai City FC finished ninth in the first phase of the I-league last season.   -  Twitter/@ChennaiCityFC

The All India Football Federation on Saturday announced that former I-League champion Chennai City FC will not be allowed to play in the upcoming season of the league for failing to comply with Club Licensing Regulations.

The new season is set to start on December 26 and CCFC’s position will be taken by Kenkre FC, who finished second in the Hero I-League Qualifiers held in Bengaluru earlier this year.

However, CCFC owner Rohit Ramesh said that it had informed the federation that it was not in a position to play in the upcoming season anyway due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on club revenues and the recent rains in Chennai impacting its preparations as well. 

In a statement, the federation said, “The AIFF Club Licensing Committee has taken strong exception to Chennai City FC (the "Club") for failing to comply with most of the mandatory AIFF Club Licensing Regulations for the forthcoming Hero I-League 2021-22 despite giving additional opportunity after assurances from the Club including a detailed conference call.”

“With the Hero I-League scheduled to kick-off later this month, the Committee wasn’t in any position to give any more opportunities to the Club, and henceforth, has unanimously decided to not grant the Exemption sought by the Club, after having failed to receive the ICLS Premier 2 Licence of 2021-22 season. As a result of not receiving the Licence or the Exemption, the Club is thus barred from participating in the Hero I-League 2021-22.”

Explaining the reasons for not wanting to play this year, Rohit said, “Due to the pandemic, all the clubs have taken a big financial hit and we just managed to field a team last year. We were unable to even commence the club licensing process due to a delay in obtaining the affiliation letter from the Tamil Nadu Football Association.”

“While it is unfortunate that we can’t play this year, we are hopeful of making a strong comeback next year and continue to promote football in the State and the country,” he added.

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