AIFF decides to delay start of upcoming domestic season due to COVID-19 pandemic

Last year, the Indian Super League began on October 20 while the I-League started on November 30.

File image of Sunil Chhetri playing for Bengaluru FC.   -  ISL Media

The All India Football Federation on Friday decided to delay the start date of the domestic season till further notice in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a circular sent to all its members, the AIFF said the decision was taken following the guidelines issued by world body FIFA as well as those by the Indian government.

“In view of the current situation of pandemic, we are unsure as to when things would go back to normal and sports can be played again in the country. Hence, AIFF has decided to postpone the start date of the upcoming season i.e. 2020-21 season and its first registration period till further notice,” the AIFF said.

“The same shall be declared through a separate circular,” it said in the circular titled ‘COVID-19 Football Regulatory Issues in India.’

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Last year, the Indian Super League began on October 20 while the I-League started on November 30.

The AIFF said Article 5.1, paragraph 1, of Annexe 3 of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players states that prior to a registration period commencing, associations may amend or modify the dates under “exceptional circumstances.”

“The COVID-19 outbreak is clearly an exceptional circumstance,” the AIFF said.

“In view of the above, FIFA has decided to allow all its MAs (member associations) to amend season dates and/or registration periods, either within the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS) or by otherwise notifying FIFA.”

The AIFF said its Executive Committee on May 13 took a decision to conclude the current season (2019-20) on its original end date of May 31.

Regarding ‘Expiring Agreements and New Agreements,’ the AIFF said: “There will not be any effects on an agreement expiring at the end of the current season as there is no change in the actual end date of the 2019-20 season and all such agreements shall expire on their original end date.

“In case an employment agreement is due to commence at the original start date of a new season, such commencement be delayed until the new start date of a new season.

“Notwithstanding the recommended amendment to agreement dates, any payment that contractually falls due prior to the new commencement date of an agreement should be delayed until the new start date of the 2020-21 season.”

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