I-League CEO Sunanda Dhar has suggested that India could have just one unified league in the coming years. India currently have two independent leagues running throughout the football season. Originally the country hosted one league the National Football League which was the country’s premier competition and ran for the enitre football season. National League or NFL was later renamed as the I-League since 2007-08 season.
The latest league which was conceptualised by an Indian business house IMG Reliance, was started in last October. The tournament was named as the Indian Super League and and it ran for three months.
The ISL was a massive hit comercially and grabbed the ye-balls of several Indian viewers. The stadiums were filled up to the brim much to the contrast of I-league games.
But Dhar suggested that according to FIFA guidlines the rules will be altered shortly and in future India would have a single unified league.
ESPN quoted Mr. Dhar: “There are many logistical problems having two different leagues, so stakeholders in Indian football want to move towards one league.
“In a recent meeting of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), president Praful Patel [also an AFC vice president] said the country will be moving towards a single league which is played for eight or nine months of the year involving 14 or 15 teams.”
AIFF secretary Kushal Das had earlier mentioned that India would have a single league by 2020. But Dhar’s reaction suggests that the alterations might happen sooner.
Dhar further added: “These are still early days to decide what shape and form that league will take. There will be a series of meetings with stakeholders of both the I-League and the ISL over the next year or two to give shape to the single-league concept.”
Atletico de Kolkata won the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League. I-League on the other hand was bagged by another Kolkata side Mohun Bagan AC.