Kolkata, May 4 (IANS) Under pressure to include surprise I-League champions Aizawl FC in the All India Football Federation’s proposed revamped league, General Secretary Kushal Das insisted on Thursday that the best interests of Indian football will be served.
Aizawl FC made a formal application to the AIFF on Tuesday to continue being a part of the top division after it emerged that they would have no place in the restructured domestic tournament that AIFF and its commercial partners IMG-Reliance are planning to launch in November this year.
In the re-jigged Indian Super League (ISL), the existing eight ISL franchises will be joined by at least three I-League clubs. But Aizawl, who became the first club from the north-east to win the country’s premier domestic tournament, are not a part of the merger plans.
Instead, the AIFF is supposedly in talks with Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
In a statement, the club said they had submitted a “formal claim to the AIFF to continue in the top league even after proposed merger of the existing top league with the ISL”.
“We will do what is best for Indian football,” Das told IANS when quizzed about the issue.
“Aizawl have sent a request like they had done last year. We are on the threshold of change in the structure of club football in India. We have not decided anything yet,” he added.
Aizawl were relegated last year but made several requests to the AIFF asking to be brought back in the top tier. Eventually they were drafted back due to clubs like Salgaocar FC pulling the plug on their first team operations.
Asked if last Saturday’s meeting between AIFF President Praful Patel and Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will dampen Aizawl’s chances for inclusion in the revamped top division, Das said: “East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are legacy clubs. They have some things to say about being part of the proposed new league. We will hear them out. The Aizawl issue is separate and we will do what is best for the game. They have been remarkable in winning the I-League.”