The Hero I-League won the silver medal in “Best Developing Football League of the Year” category nominated by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at the SPIA Awards in Bangkok on Tuesday.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel in his statement congratulated all the stakeholders and the clubs.

“I need to thank the Asian Football Confederation for nominating us and SPIA Award for the recognition. My heartiest congratulations to all the stakeholders, especially the clubs who have been an integral part of the league. I would also like to congratulate the AIFF and the I-League department for their hard work.”

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das pointed out that it was a “wonderful moment for Indian Football.”

“This recognition comes two years after AIFF had won the award for the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award in 2016. It is so satisfying to see that AIFF’s initiative for developing Hero I-League pan India and introducing the club licensing criteria has earned Indian football this award,” he said.

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The AIFF had also won the AFC President Recognition Award for grassroots football in 2014.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said: “Nothing can be more inspiring. We have been on our job in the best manner possible and this award is an indication that we are on the right track and is a motivation for us to do better.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans whose support means the world to us and all my colleagues in the League department,” he added.

The ongoing edition of the Hero I-League is being played among 11 Clubs and the champion gets a slot in the AFC Champions League qualifier.