I-league clubs refuse to give Champions League spot, demand HD broadcast
by Shubham Sharma
The I-league clubs on Thursday released a joint statement officially after meeting the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel at the Federation headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
In the statement which was jointly released by Minerva Punjab, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala, the clubs thanked the President for having heard their grievances and reiterated their commitment to work with the Federation.
"In the spirit of compromise, I-League clubs agree to the broadcast plan and scheduling plans for the upcoming season even though it is not ideal. I-League clubs also agree to continue with the two league system for another 3 years despite initially demanding immediate resolution with a unified league," the statement said.
However, the clubs are not in favour of giving away their rightfully earned and longstanding AFC Champions league spot till a proper plan for unified league is initiated.
"The United I-League clubs insist that the AFC Champions league spot must remain with the I-League as it is the I-League clubs that have (over the years) earned the AFC spots for India to enjoy today. The AIFF has already granted AFC Cup slot to ISL in 2017 and the same arrangement should continue till there is one unified league."
The clubs pushed forward a 10-point roadmap for Indian football league, in which they demanded representations from the I-league clubs besides the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), ISL clubs and the AIFF in a working committee for the league restructuring.
They demanded that the league should have promotion and relegation. They demanded a tripartite agreement should be signed between the FSDL, the Federation and the I-league clubs to avoid further conflicts.
They demanded that an I-league committee should be formed that would have representations from the I-league clubs and the Federation members and this committee would take the decision of the I-league, the second division and the youth league. The I-league committee should decide the production house.
They further demanded that the production costs for the matches should be borne 50 percent by the FSDL and the rest by the Federation. Not only that, they also demanded that all matches of I-League must be shown live on HD Channel with improved production quality (8 camera set up with specifications mentioned in the document submitted); I-League matches must start at 5 pm and 7 pm alongside ISL and for non-floodlight venues, kick off timings to be 2 pm or 3 pm.
The I-League clubs said that the roadmap needs to be approved by the AIFF Executive Committee and should be simultaneously announced, giving all details, including present status of I-League and ISL, and the future plan also.