Need more teams with separate divisons, says Bhaichung Bhutia

Need more teams with separate divisons, says Bhaichung Bhutia

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Former India skipper Bhaichung Bhutia is of the opinion that the only way forward could be the promotion and relegation system with separate divisions as has been the norm in other countries. He also stated that India were very lucky to be placed in an easy group in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The rift between the I-League clubs and the All India Football Federation has been far from over with the future of Indian club football, especially the top-tier league still handing in air. While numerous resolves have been proposed and many solutions promised, nothing has been executed with frustration amongst the fans brewing strong. However, the veteran footballer has stuck to his previous suggestion of a unified league the introduction of promotion-relegation having across separate divisions.

“I am not talking about merger. We need to have a bigger number of teams with separate divisions, say 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions, where we can have relegation and promotion system. This is what the format is all across the world and I think we need to get into that format soon,” said Bhutia along the sidelines of a knowledge session on ‘Intergrity in Sports’ organized by the All India Gaming Federation and industry body, FICCI, reported PTI.

“I think we should be looking at leagues at different level with promotion and relegation system. It might take time but we should get into that structure. At the end of the day the game should go on. The game should be organised in a bigger and better way,” he added.

After India’s bottom-placed finish in the Intercontinental Cup, new coach Igor Stimac’s methods have been questioned with India having to play the World Cup qualifiers in months. However, Bhutia has called for patience from the fans stating that Croatian is too new and would be needing time.

“We have a fairly new coach so it will take time for him to build a new team with new players. Our defenders have been hampered by a lot of injuries. He has not watched Indian football before coming here. The Intercontinental was more about seeing the players, getting the right combination, giving opportunities to a lot of young players,” he said.

India have been clubbed alongside Oman, hosts Qatar, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan in the qualifiers and Bhutia has stated that India were lucky to get an easy draw despite their rank. “I think we were very lucky with the draw because our ranking was much better. Only Qatar looks a difficult team but overall we are fairly in a decent position this time,” he added.

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