I-League clubs are given an option to have eight foreign players to match the might of fancied, cash rich ISL combines. The I-League team owners are finding the offer too hot to handle.
Five of the nine I-League clubs have written to the All-India Football Federation about their reservation to register eight foreign players for the 2017-18 season. Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are in favour of the AIFF proposal to sign eight foreigners, including two Asians. Churchill Brother are neutral on the matter.
In fact it were the Kolkata giants who had proposed the eight-foreigner formula for I-League. AIFF had given their nod.
On the other hand, I-League champions Aizawl FC never supported the move. “I strongly opposed to the proposal of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal for increase of the admissible number of foreign players for the sake of promotion of Indian football. I have told the joint meeting of AIFF-I League clubs that Aizawl FC is deadly against proposed increase of foreign players at the cost of Indian footballers,” the Aizawl FC owner Robert Romawia Royte had told InsideSport.co.
The I-League clubs last week have agreed to run two parallel leagues – I-League and ISL – on a trial basis for this season. The development came a day after Asian Football Confederation gave official recognition to the Indian Super League by granting the next ISL champion an AFC Cup play-off slot.
Among there were recommendations that I-League clubs be allowed to field five foreign players in a game, including an Asian. Presently only four foreign players, including one Asian, are permitted for the I-League clubs.
DSK Shivajians, Minerva Punjab FC, Chennai City FC, Shillong Lajong, champions Aizawl FC and promoted Neroca FC are pleading that they have always wanted to help the national interest and that is the reason they do not want an increase in foreign players’ quota. There are strong chances that the proposal might get overturned as a majority of the clubs are opposed to it.
Meanwhile, the I-League Committee meeting on Wednesday will resolve whether to implement the eight foreigners per team formula from this season or not.
The Football Players’ Association of India (FPAI), though not recognised by the AIFF, has also opposed the new I-League proposal, saying it will deny the deserving domestic talent a chance to play professionally.