Coimbatore: In what turns out to be a piece of delightful news for the Indian football fans, the much-awaited restructuring of Indian football league will be completed in the next season and that 2019-20 season of Indian football will see the emergence of a single top-tier in the Indian football league.
In an interview, I-league CEO Sunando Dhar confirmed that there will be only a single top-tier from the season 2019-20 onwards. Dhar also further confirmed the fact that there will be no promotion and relegation in the new top tier of the restructured Indian football league system, which means that the
new league will be a closed one.
"The aim is to have a proper structure in place where there will be one league at the top, followed by
the second and third divisions. We are simply focusing on the one-league structure. However, promotion
and relegation could be difficult in the next season because there are contractual obligations and it will
be difficult for us to rub those out. Once the contractual obligations are taken care of, relegation and
promotion would start," Dhar said in Coimbatore on Friday.
Dhar also said positively that Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan may be a part of the new top league. "Bagan and East Bengal are the two biggest clubs in the history of Indian football and I am sure they will play in the top division. However, there wouldn't be any different treatment meted out to the I-League clubs as compared to ISL franchises. Like ISL, I-League is also an AIFF property," said, Dhar.
When asked if the I-league clubs will also have to pay the franchise fees of 15 crore rupees as Indian Super League clubs do to be the part of the new top tier, Dhar said that this is being currently being worked on.
"We know that I-League clubs don't work on a huge budget but then financial stability is important for not only I-League clubs but also ISL clubs. Worldwide, the maximum money comes from TV rights. But its not the case in India. So we are working on getting the perfect model which will be financially viable." said Dhar.