CONFIRMED: ISL slot format changed
by Shubham Sharma
The winners of the league stage is set to get the competition slot.
The 2019-20 season of Indian Super League(ISL) will see a new change: the winner of the league stage will finally get a reward.
The ISL's knockout phase format has been a bone of contention among many Indian football fans. It was a topic of debate among many for a long time.
People felt that deciding the champions of the league on the basis of just 3 knockout phase games, which included the final, was injustice towards the most consistent team of the league, the league stage winners.
Not just fans but even big names of Indian football came forward to speak against this rule, and this included none other than Indian legend Sunil Chhetri.
“I think when you work hard as a team for 18 weeks, you deserve to be called the champions of India. The minimum that you deserve is an AFC slot. I’m not saying it because of what’s happening right now. But last two years, I’ve played for clubs that have won the league and eventually lost the trophy,” Chhetri registered his protest.
His team Bengaluru FC were the victims in 2017-18 season of this rule when his team were unable to win the league despite being the league leaders by some margin, only because they lost to Chennaiyin FC in the final.
Finally, the scenario is set to change as AIFF and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) , the league owners are set to award the league winners the spot to AFC Champions League playoff spot.
An AIFF official confirmed the above development," Yes, from this season onwards, the league (ISL) winners are set to receive a spot to the (AFC) Champions League. The knockout phase winners will only receive the trophy and prize money."
ATK is set to take on Kerala Blasters in the league opener on 20th October.