Finishing second would have meant a lot to us: V.C. Praveen

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a nation-wide lockdown and the AIFF is likely to announce that this season's I-League is indeed over.

Gokulam Kerala's president V.C. Praveen during a match.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is expected to announce that this season's I-League is indeed over. 

With Mohun Bagan having already won the title – that too with four matches to spare - the fight from the second to the 11th position was still on.

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The coronavirus outbreak first caused a postponement, but the subsequent lockdown meant there is little chance for resumption of the 13th edition of the league. The AIFF is likely to distribute the prize-money of Rs. 1.25 crore equally among the 10 teams (Bagan will take home Rs. 1 crore as the champion).

No team is likely to be relegated. But, with Bagan's merger with the ISL side ATK, one new team could be promoted to the next edition of the league.

The owners of the I-League clubs are understandably disappointed that the season has had to finish abruptly. 

“We were hopeful of completing the league, but the central government's recommendation that no sporting event can be held till July has more or less left us with little options,” Gokulam Kerala president V.C. Praveen told Sportstar

“We were looking forward to a strong finish and taking second place behind Bagan.”

With 22 points from 15 matches, Gokulam was indeed well-placed for the runner-up spot. The Kerala club was just one point behind the second-placed East Bengal, which played a game more.

“Finishing second would have meant a lot to us, as this was only the third I-League for us,” he said. “And we had prepared hard for this season and had invested heavily on our foreign players.”

He said the team was also happy that big crowds had come out consistently for Gokulam's home matches here. “Now we will look forward to entertain our supporters in the next edition of the I-League,” said Praveen.

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