Praful Patel: New roadmap will do Indian football a lot of good

As per the blueprint, ISL will replace I-League as the top-tier Indian league and the ISL champion will be entitled to a AFC Champions League play-off place.

Indian Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju, center, FIFA Chief Women's Football Officer Sarai Bareman, right, and FIFA Chairman & LOC Chairman Praful Patel attend the unveiling of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020 Official Emblem in Mumbai.   -  AP

As the Indian Super League (ISL) looks set to replace the I-League as top-tier tournament in the country -- as per a proposal presented by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on domestic structural reforms in India -- All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief, Praful Patel, is happy that a ‘sustainable and broadly acceptable roadmap’ has been established.

The roadmap was formulated in a meeting of the I-League and ISL clubs with the officials of the AIFF and the AFC in Kuala Lumpur, a few weeks ago.

READ | AFC Executive Committee approves AIFF's roadmap for Indian football

FSDL officials, the commercial partners of the ISL, were also present during the meeting.

As per the blueprint, the ISL champion would also be entitled to a play-off place in the AFC Champions League and the I-League champion would take a place in the AFC Cup in “a package that takes into consideration the recommendations of FIFA/AFC report of 2017”.

“There have been issues between ISL and I-League clubs. This needed to be resolved at some stage,” Patel said on Saturday.

“I feel genuinely happy that a broad consensus has been built. It was a ticklish issue that has been nagging the football fraternity in our country. [There were talks] what will happen to ISL, what will happen to I-League and what will happen to future of the clubs? These important questions were keeping us engaged. I am happy that a sustainable, comprehensive and broadly acceptable roadmap has been established which will do Indian football a lot of good,” Patel said.

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