Indian football: AIFF mulls changes for next season

The coronavirus pandemic has all but ensured that the current Indian football season will be incomplete, also forcing the AIFF to make changes for the next season.

Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan had sealed the I-League title with four rounds left before all sporting events were forced to a halt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.   -  Twitter @ILeagueOfficial

The coronavirus pandemic has all but ensured that the current football season in the country ends incomplete and has forced the national federation, AIFF, to contemplate different possibilities to tailor-make tournaments for a shortened calendar in the next season.

“Going by the indications and the different action plans emerging globally about the extent of the pandemic, there is every possibility that we would not be able to start the leagues till late this year. And that effectively would be consuming half of the new season,” said the senior vice-president of AIFF, Subrata Dutta.

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“We are facing a bleak scenario where thousands of people involved with Indian football are suddenly rendered immobile by the pandemic. But we at the AIFF are always trying to work out ways to restart football after the tribulations are over. And keeping in mind the evolving situation, we are figuring out the possibility of temporarily changing the formats to incorporate the tournaments in a shortened calendar next season,” Dutta told about the way AIFF is looking to restart football in the country.

The AIFF’s League Committee, which regulates all the football leagues including the I-League, is supposed to meet by this weekend to decide the fate of all the tournaments which have remained inconclusive this season.

While Mohun Bagan has managed to evade the lockdown and ensure the I-League crown with four rounds to spare, the remaining positions in the tournament remains undecided.

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With 23 matches still to go in the I-League and the Second Division League half-way through, the national federation will have to make a lot of decisions to ensure a proper ending to the season.

“Almost all the leagues around the world are facing a similar problem. But thankfully in India the ISL is already complete and the champion has been decided in the I-League. Now we will have to find out the right way to wrap up the season,” Dutta, who is also the chairman of the League Committee, said.

The current season comes to an end on May 31 and with all the leagues under its purview (this also includes the youth, junior and sub-junior leagues) remaining incomplete, the AIFF is left with no other options but to forego the season.

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