AIFF set to grant AFC Cup slot to ISL winners

Sources claimed that the AIFF has more or less made up its mind to allot the AFC Cup play-off spot to the ISL winners.

The ISL winners is likely to feature in the AFC Cup.   -  SPORTZPICS

The Indian Super League, a hitherto private tournament, is set to get the recognition it has all along craved for, with the winner of the competition likely to be awarded the AFC Cup play-off spot. Until now, the spot was reserved for the Federation Cup winner.

After the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) asked the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday to decide on the league structure at least for the coming season at the earliest, the AIFF Executive Committee met in Mumbai on Thursday. Sources confirmed to Sportstar that the decision was taken at the meeting.

What this also means is that the I-League and ISL will run parallely in the forthcoming season, with the former continuing to hold on to the top league status and as a consequence the AFC Champions League play-off spot.

Sources also confirmed that Mohun Bagan and East Bengal would continue to ply their trade in the I-League. It may be recalled that both teams had picked up the ISL bid documents but refused to submit them protesting against the payment of franchise fee, the non-allotment of money from the central pool and at not being allowed to play their matches from Kolkata.

It is also to be noted that the two Kolkatan giants are not agreeable to the ISL and I-League being conducted simultaneously, stating that there will be no takers for I-League with ISL attracting all the eyeballs.

AIFF president Praful Patel is expected to convey the decisions in a meeting with the representatives of I-League clubs on Saturday in New Delhi and it remains to be seen how successful he is in assuaging their fears.

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