The All India Football Federation was very quick to issue a statement following the I-League executive committee meeting, claiming that they would balance all their stakeholders’ interest. The proceedings ensued after media reports claimed the ISL would be made the top tier league in the country.
The I-League executive committee meeting had representatives of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, NEROCA FC, and Gokulam Kerala present, which has decided to approach the courts for relief in the face of uncertainty.
And while the I-League has normally struggled to get a response from the AIFF with their promised meeting with Praful Patel still hanging in air, the federation was quick to issue a statement following I-League’s statement.
"The AIFF, as a custodian of Indian football has always endeavoured to balance the interest of all stakeholders, the I-League, its clubs. To say that the future of ILeague, and the clubs, will not be taken into consideration for any future decisions of the AIFF would be unfair,” AIFF’s statement read.
"As a matter of fact, a decision regarding the ISL becoming a league was also discussed with AFC and Fifa, before it was given recognition, and even for any future decisions, AFC and Fifa will be duly consulted," the statement further read, which also insisted AFC general secretary Dato Windsor Johnto visit India specifically for I-League issues.
Initiated as the National Football League back in 1996, the league was threatened with the introduction of franchise-based Indian Super League. As per the Master Rights Agreement (MRA), signed between the AIFF and its marketing partners, IMGReliance, in 2010, ISL would be the "most senior and prestigious football league in India". The I-League, according to the MRA, would be "reconstituted, replaced and/or discontinued (temporarily or permanently)."