I-League clubs threaten to take AIFF to court if ISL is made top tier

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I-League clubs threaten to take AIFF to court if ISL is made top tier

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SportsCafe Desk

06/25/2019

The I-League clubs' committee has revealed after an executive committee meeting that they would be dragging the AIFF to court if ISL is made India’s top-tier league. According to the MRA agreement signed between AIFF and IMG Reliance, ISL would need to be the most senior league in India.

Indian football is going through tumultuous times with All India Football Federation (AIFF) clashing against the age-old I-League in their pursuit to make Indian Super League (ISL) the nation’s top tier. This has got the I-League clubs worried, as the league has been the country’s senior most competition since 1996. 

And after their executive meeting that had East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, NEROCA FC and Gokulam Kerala all present and concerned about Indian football being "pushed to an uncertain future", they have decided to approach the courts for relief.

The joint statement of I-League clubs read, “We, the United I-League clubs met today in New Delhi to discuss our future course of action in light of the latest developments in Indian football. With media reports indicating that the ISL being announced as the top division league post an Executive committee meeting scheduled for 3rd July 2019, the I-League clubs are standing united stronger than ever. 

East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, NEROCA, and Gokulam Kerala FC have all decided to approach the Appropriate Courts for relief at the earliest as soon as any such decision announced by AIFF. 

The refusal of the President of AIFF to meet the I League clubs in spite of several requests and the subsequent vindictive actions specifically towards the I League clubs, combined with the coercive and blackmailing attitude of FSDL towards AIFF by refusing to make payments pushes the game to an uncertain future.

I League has been the national league since 1996 and carries the tradition of Indian Football with it. This tradition has helped create what football in India stands today and has been the torch bearer of Indian Football. I League has been the sole driving force in creating footballers and fans of the game in the country.

To be now told that the I League will no longer be the TOP LEAGUE is completely unacceptable and illegal and we pledge to fight this together as ONE FOOTBALL FAMILY which carries the tradition of Indian football. With media reports indicating that the ISL will be announced as the top division league post an executive committee meeting, the I-League clubs are standing united, stronger than ever."

The five clubs signed the statement after their meeting in Delhi on Monday. While Aizawl FC and NEROCA FC officials could not make it to the meeting, I-League champions Chennai City FC were not invited following their break up from the group as they took part in the Super Cup.

While nothing has been finalized yet, the Master Rights Agreement (MRA) signed between the AIFF and its marketing partners, IMG Reliance, in 2010. The agreement had a clause for a new League, which is ISL in this case, which would be the "most senior and prestigious football league in India".

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