The new Indian Super League franchisee, to represent Hyderabad in India’s premier club football competition, will not be entitled for an Asian Football Confederation Champions League qualifier berth for two years.
The team, poised to replace FC Pune City in the cash-rich league, irrespective of its position in the ISL points table will have to wait for two years to enter the AFC Champions League qualifying tournament. It is mandatory for the teams under a new management to complete a two-year waiting period.
I-League champions hitherto earned the right to play in the AFC’s regional competitions. However, the All India Football Federation in a controversial decision has allocated the privilege to the ISL clubs. I-League until last season enjoyed the status of India’s official club football league whereas ISL was more of an inter-club football tournament.
AFC’s club license regulations make it mandatory for a new team to serve a waiting period of two years before it become eligible to qualify for AFC competitions.
Also Read: AIFF finalises ISL, I-League dates: Report
“The membership and/or the contractual relationship must have lasted at the start of the Licensing process at least two consecutive years. Any alteration to club’s legal form or company structure (including, changing its headquarters, name, club colours, or transferring stake holdings between different clubs/entities) in order to facilitate its qualification on sporting merit and/or its receipt of a licence is deemed as an interruption of membership or contractual relationship (if any) within the meaning of this provision,” reads the clause which governs new teams’ qualification for the AFC events.
Telangana entrepreneur Vijay Madduri has joined hands with former Kerala Blasters manager and Chennaiyin FC COO Varun Tripuraneni to acquire the new ISL franchisee. The new team is confirmed to have Hyderabad’s Gachibowli Stadium as its home base.
The Hyderabad franchisee will replace the Pune City FC as a new ISL entity. Since, the new ISL franchisee has not directly acquired the Pune City ownership, it escapes the player transfer ban handed to the Pune outfit. However, being the new entity in the league deprives them of the AFC tournaments.
Meanwhile, the Hyderabad outfit owners have hinted at acquiring some of the Pune City players as their contract with the club will now become defunct.
For now, the new ISL entity has been named Hyderabad football club. As the club ownership starts working on building their team, the fans eagerly await many more announcements like the key signings.