ISL and I-League merger talks begin on a positive note

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ISL and I-League merger talks begin on a positive note

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Debarshee Mitra

03/16/2016

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das confirmed today that the governing body and IMG-Reliance have begun their discussion regarding the merger between the Indian Super League and the I-League. He has also revealed that DSK Shivajians are not guaranteed a berth in the 'One League', if it materializes.

“This was just a first meeting. We decided to relook at the existing structures in Indian football with regards to three things – development, the current competitions and the national team. The idea is that all these aspects must ensure that the national team does well for which we need a league of at least five-to-six months in a year. This was the basic theme.

“It was a good meeting. At the Executive Committee too, Mr. Patel informed that we are working on a blueprint with a proper plan looking at the overall development of Indian football. We want to work with all the stakeholders before any decision is arrived upon,” Kushal Das was quoted as saying by Goal.com.

Initial rumours suggested that AIFF will promote only Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Bengaluru FC among the I-League clubs, into the newly-formed league. But, Kushal Das ensured that the AIFF is pushing to include all 'supporter-based' clubs in the unified league.

“For now all of that is a rumour and there are just people talking about it. The thing is that we want to ensure that at least the supporter-based clubs are a part of the Premier League of the country. We want to work it out as much as possible,” he explained.

However, DSK Shivajians are likely to miss out as the AIFF had reportedly inserted a clause in their contract stating that they will not be part of the 'One league', when it is formed in the future.

“When DSK came into the I-League, they were fully aware that there were talks on with regards to having one league in future. They have accepted that fact and when it happens, they shall review it. There are no guarantees that when we have a new league, they will be a part of it,” Das said.

A lot of clubs who are presently plying their trade in the second division have urged the AIFF to promote two clubs to the I-League this season, due to the shortage of teams in the top division, but Kushal Das has dismissed that possibility.

“We can’t keep changing rules and then re-look at it every year. There has to be relegation,” he claimed.

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