Mumbai: The roadmap for the proposed Indian Super league (ISL), I-League merger could be finalised by February-March 2017, according to All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das.
“We will like to try and finalise something by Feburary-March 2017. We are trying our best to get this (the new proposed league) off the ground next season,” Das told reporters on the sidelines of an AIFF event.
The general secretary indicated that ISL, which would become the main league, would be held over a long period from 2017. AIFF has also formed a task force to look into the procedure of merger.
"We are trying to restructure Indian football where the ISL will be longer, there will be league one and two next year, and next season everything will start after the U-17 World Cup, if everything works according to plan."
"So we have a task force with representatives from AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and (world body) FIFA to guide us on this issue. It is definitely a complicated matter, there are legacy clubs who are around for long time," he added.
The news of merger has shaken the very core of Indian football, but Das believes it’s a step in the right direction.
"It is a difficult task, we are working on it. There would be a lot of pain and heartburns and rightly so. Some of the legacy clubs, who have been around for many years, would feel that they are unjustifiably taken out of the top league, but this is something we have to do for the sake of Indian football," he added.
Das pointed out the aspects of ISL, where I-League falls behind and expressed that the new proposed structure will enable I-League clubs to create a more sustainable model.
"The problem is there are certain aspects of ISL or top leagues which need to be followed. If you have seen the ISL the spectator attendance have been fantastic and again I know some of the clubs will object to that and some of the legacy clubs have not been able to create the fan base and that’s a fact.
"Hence, we are allowing them to participate in the next league, make a sustainable model for them, create a fan base and come up. For some time, there won’t be any promotion, relegation, in due course it would be an open league," Das added.