FIFA acts on I-League clubs’ letter, seeks update from AIFF

World football governing body FIFA has sought an update from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on the prevailing I-League, Indian Super League scenario in India. In response, the AIFF has reiterated its stance the impasse surrounding an unified league will be resolved in a two- to three-year window.

Reacting to a representation made by six I-League clubs – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Minerva Punjab, Churchill Brothers, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala – the chief member association officer of FIFA Joyce Cook wanted an update on the present scenario from the AIFF.

“We would like to obtain an update on the current position of the AIFF as well as any additional information you may be able to provide on the present situation,” Cook wrote in a mail addressed to AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.

FIFA also pointed out that its joint report with AFC following an extensive consultation process last year is being discussed now regarding the merger of Indian Super League and the I-League.

“The report’s objectives are among others, to provide the AIFF with external expertise and to support your federation and its stakeholders in establishing and implementing a widely-supported, robust medium to long-term strategy,” Cook said.

“As you know, the report is therefore a comprehensive review and professional proposal which also contains a series of clear and concrete recommendations for your further consideration,” he added.

Later in the day, the AIFF issued a statement without mentioning the FIFA letter.

“In the recent days, the AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel in his meeting with the Hero I-League clubs as well as in several recent interviews has broadly taken the same line as was suggested in the above-mentioned report.

“Needless to mention that this is precisely the reason that a two-three-year window is required to resolve all contentious issues amicably with all stakeholders,” the AIFF statement read.

“The question of Hero Indian Super League not remaining a closed league permanently has been clarified amply enough by the AIFF President, and promotion and relegation eventually would lead to the development of club football in India.”

The AIFF said it is committed to engaging with AFC and FIFA as well as all other stakeholders for finding an early resolution to these issues.

The six I-League clubs had sought intervention from the FIFA president Gianni Infantino in a 35-point letter with a copy of the Master Rights Agreement, signed in 2010 by AIFF and its commercial partners Football Sports Development, attached to it.