The future roadmap of Indian football remained unclear after no concrete decisions were taken at the stakeholder's meeting at the AFC headquarters on Wednesday (June 7).
All leagues special site; AFC urges AIFF to resolve short-term issues
The meeting between officials of AIFF, their marketing and commercial partners IMG-Reliance (IMG-R), representatives from clubs of both the I-League as well as the Indian Super League (ISL), former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia and an official from India's sports ministry on Wednesday failed to generate any stable solution regarding the ISL and I-League merger. [
Kushal Das, the AIFF General Secretary, said: “We are grateful to the AFC for facilitating the meeting which is crucial to the development of football in India.
"We must go through this process to create the best future for the game in our country. In the meantime, we have to decide on the short-term future of the game as soon as possible.”
This very announcement failed to clear the stir regarding the ISL or the I-League attachment and could leave the ball again in IFA's court.
The situation indicates that with the AFC withholding to take a strong opinion on granting the ISL an official platform, the stand-off is likely to continue for the time being.
Which means with very little time to execute the reorganisation of the Indian football calendar from the 2017-18 season itself, ISL will continue as a two and a half month-long tournament for the upcoming season after the completion of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017, followed by the I-League.
The only positive came out of the meeting is that AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor agreeing with the fact that the 100 years legacy of two Kolkata giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan could not be thrown aside as well as I-League winner Aizwal FC's claim if the merger happens in the future.
Speaking to the-afc.com, Windsor said: “There was a desire by people, who are extremely passionate about the game, to marry the strengths of both the traditional and the new, which helped in delivering the objectives of the meeting in which the AFC listened to the key stakeholders.”
The officials also proposed Individualistic research would be assigned and analysed before being evaluated by the AIFF and the stakeholders, with the decisions on the medium and long-term pathway being taken as soon as possible after the FIFA U-17 World Cup.