I-League, ISL may merge: AIFF official

"We have proposed to merge the traditional I-League and the Indian Super League and conduct one league instead of two," Sunando Dhar, who is also the I-League chief executive, said.

The I-League ran from January to May this year.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) could be merged in a couple of years to improve the standard of the game in the country, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said here today. “We have proposed to merge the traditional I-League and the Indian Super League and conduct one league instead of two,” Sunando Dhar, who is also the I-League chief executive, said.

“In fact, we are in negotiation with the stakeholders, including the ISL franchisees on the issue,” Dhar told reporters. It may take two to three years time to materialise, said Dhar, who was here to take part in the 11th Convocation of the Tata Football Academy (TFA).

Dhar added, 14 to 16 teams may participate in the league following the merger. The objective is to improve the standard of the league, and merger of the two leagues would engage participating teams for six to eight months a year, he said.

However, he expressed satisfaction over the progress of the I-league, the next edition of which will kick off on January 9.

About AIFF's infrastructure development plan, Dhar said six world-class venues in Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi are being developed to host the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and at least four similar venues for practice for the participating teams. Expressing confidence that the Indian Under-17 team will perform well, he claimed the squad reserved its berth for the World Cup on merit and not for being the host country.

About 45 cadets in two group are undergoing rigorous training in Goa, and were being given international exposure as well, he said.

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