Mumbai City FC Stars Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri are in favour of one lengthy league in India, in place of two leagues- Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League. The Uruguayan has also praised Sunil Chhetri and the passionate Indian fans.
It has been a long time since the talk about the merger of Indian Super League and I-League has begun, but nothing fruitful came out of the way. While the FIFA had backed the I-league as their official league, the AIFF has continued their promotion of the ISL.
In the wake of it, two popular stars of the ISL, Diego Forlan and Sunil Chhetri, have urged the authorities to start a single lengthy league in India which will help the budding players to get more practice.
Ahead of Mumbai City's last group stage ISL match, Forlan said, "Considering that I am 37 years old, this is a great format for me as my job would be done in three months but it's not good for Indian football. If you look around the different leagues of the world, they play at least 40-50 games and that covers the whole year. Some of the local lads may play ISL but not all get opportunities. Yes, there are many who train with the team but participating in an official match is a different ball game,” reported DNA.
The Uruguayan star has advised the AIFF to merge two leagues. He said,
"They have to sort it out between the two leagues and merge everything which would go on for the whole year because there are some talented players doing pretty well and it would be great if some more are pushed into the system from behind."
Sunil Chhetri, who led Bengaluru FC to the AFC Cup final, has seconded Forlan’s words.
The Indian skipper said, "One longer league is going to be beneficial for everyone and this is very clear to all who are involved in both the tournaments. It would be great if new states are brought into the equation. When and how they are going to do it is not something I can comment on but I am sure they are working very hard on the issue.
"The number of teams can go up to 20 and if we have a longer league with more clubs, doesn't matter whether it's named I-league or ISL, the youngsters will get more exposure with high-profile coaches and solid infrastructure and that is one thing we would all love to see."
Forlan is being used behind Chhetri in the forward line, but he doesn’t have any qualms about it.
On being asked about his role in the side, he said, "For nine years I have been playing as a first striker but it depends on the team and the players in which I am playing. After Sunil joined us, sometimes he drops back and I finish. In this team, I like the freedom to play wherever I want to. I feel comfortable when I look up for space and stay near the goal.”
When asked whether he will play the full season if there is a merger between the ISL and the I-League, Forlan said, So, will you play the entire season in India, if the merger takes place?
"Entire season in India? I don't know what I am going to do once the league ends. I have to see, get whole information before deciding.”," he concluded.