I-League clubs hope for positive outcome from AIFF meeting

The I-League clubs' request for a meeting with the AIFF president – once prior to the league and again before the Super Cup – never materialised.

The I-League clubs seek reassurance from the AIFF over their future.   -  Twitter @IndianFootball

The I-League clubs will finally have a chance to voice their concerns and grievances when they meet the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The meeting, scheduled to be held at 3 pm, is the first of its kind in over a year. The I-League clubs' request for a meeting with the Federation president – once prior to the league and again before the Super Cup – never materialised.

The meeting gains further significance on the backdrop of recent media reports which suggest that there is a move to make the franchise-based Indian Super League (ISL) as the top League in the country in place of the I-League. 

The clubs are hoping for a positive discussion and Debashish Dutta, director of Mohun Bagan, said: “We are going with a very positive mindset. Every stakeholder in Indian football must be prepared to sacrifice something for the sake of Indian football. We must put Indian football above our ego and it has to come from each and everyone, not just the I-League clubs.”

“We have a lot of faith in Mr. Patel and believe he will fight for Indian football,” he added. 

Rohit Ramesh, owner of I-League champion Chennai City FC, also indicated he would go into the meeting with a positive approach: “We're going in with a positive mood. We are hoping to gain some clarity on the future and the roadmap for Indian football.” 

Minerva Punjab FC owner, Ranjit Bajaj, said the I-League clubs had nothing against the ISL, but it is a battle of survival for them. “We have no idea what's going to happen. Our aim is to get an amicable solution for everybody. We have nothing against the ISL clubs. We just don't want to die, it's a matter of survival for us. We are okay if it will be status quo, or if we have a unified league, but we will have a problem if they tell us we are the second league and cannot join the top league,” he said.

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