The I-League, on record, is the Premier Football League in India, remains overshadowed by the stature, financial strength and grandeur of the Indian Super League –the premier professional football league under the All India Football Federation banner.
While the Indian Super League continue to flourish with its foreign import and crème de la crème of the domestic talent drawn by the clubs with their superior financial muscle, the I-League is playing a crucial role in promoting talent and giving opportunities and financial security to the upcoming talent and seasoned pros who are left out of the ISL fold.
I-League, which this season will be contested among 11 teams, is in line for the Best Developing Football League in the region.
The Asian Football Confederation has shortlisted the I-League among the top three nominations for the SPIA Award in the “Best Developing Football League of the Year” category. The SPIA Conference and Awards Gala will take place on November 19 and 20 in Bangkok, adds PTI.
The I-League is the premier league in the country and the next edition will be played among 11 clubs, the champions of which get a slot for AFC Champions League qualifier. “It is very encouraging that the work of AIFF and the I-League department has got recognition by being nominated for this prestigious award. I would like to congratulate all stakeholders especially the clubs who have been an integral part of this league,” says All India Football Federation President Praful Patel.
General secretary Kushal Das added, “I am very happy to see that our initiative for developing I-League pan India and introducing the club licensing criteria has had the necessary impact, and that the I-League has been nominated for the Award.
“I would like to congratulate everyone who has been part of the League – FSDL, the clubs, the sponsors, all other stakeholders and my colleagues in AIFF without whose support this wouldn’t have been possible.”
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said: “This is excellent news for Indian football. We have been striving hard over the years and this nomination is only a motivation for us to do better.”
The AIFF had earlier won the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award in 2016, and the AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football in 2014. The 2018-19 edition of the Hero I-League kicks off on October 26.