NEW DELHI: Failing to find a solution with the national federation, six I-League clubs have decided to knock the doors of world and Asian governing bodies. With the All India Football Federation (AIFF) requesting the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to “positively consider” and grant Indian Super League (ISL) the AFC Champions League playoff slot – that has been reserved for I-League winners so far – the I-League clubs have decided to write to AFC and FIFA and apprise the two governing bodies about the “functioning of Indian football.”
Representatives of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala had a meeting in the Capital on Tuesday. Later, they also met senior Supreme Court advocate and former solicitor general of India Mohan Parasaran and sought his advice on the entire matter. The clubs decided to approach the international and Asian football bodies before moving to court.
“Going to court is our last resort. We want to make sure we have ticked all the boxes before moving to court. FIFA and AFC should know what is going on in Indian football,” Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj told TOI.
Bajaj asked on what grounds AIFF’s executive committee has requested the Asian federation to grant ISL the AFC Champions League playoff slot even when AIFF president Praful Patel has requested ‘status quo’ to be maintained.
“I-League has been the country’s top league since a long time whereas ISL started just five years ago. AFC regulations recommend that the country’s top league should be given the playoff spot. So, suddenly I-League becomes the second league and ISL the top league. Till last month, I-League was the top league. How can decisions be taken so arbitrarily and for what reason?,” questioned Bajaj.
He also stressed that the Master Rights Agreement, that the AIFF has signed with it’s marketing partners, goes against FIFA rules.
“The FIFA constitution states that the top league of a country needs to have relegation and promotion. The current proposal by AIFF has no space for relegation and promotion. Moreover, the top league of a country cannot be owned by a private entity. We will be challenging the MRA and will prove that it is illegal.”