In a bid to popularise football in the country, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has given the green light for a three-month window at the start of 2014 for a franchisee based football tournament, which draws inspiration from the popular Indian Premier League and would be organised by AIFF partners IMG-Reliance.
The tournament, the decision to open a window for the tournament was taken at the AIFF’s executive committee meeting recently, will be franchisee-based like the IPL. “The committee besides approving the calendar for 2013/14 also granted a window for a new tournament to be hosted by IMG-Reliance during the period,” the AIFF said in a statement.
Last year, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had admitted there were plans of conducting a franchisee based tournament. However, they scheduling clashes put paid to their aspirations. Even this year, they have to carefully squeeze in the league so that it doesn’t coincide with international fixtures.
It can’t held in the early 2014 since it clashes up with AFC Cup and AFC Challenge Cup. If India manage to qualify for the AFC Challenge Cup to be held at Maldives, then the national team would require its players to focus entirely on the tournament, putting in peril their participation in the AIFF League. Similarly, the AFC Cup commences in February and would see many I-League’s players preferring to contest the continental level tournament than the League.
Meanwhile, the executive committee also decided to issue bids for two new clubs in the forthcoming edition of the I-League besides constituting a task-force for future interaction with IMG-Reliance on re-structuring of the I-League, development of properties and other issues as per the contract. Moreover, AR Khaleel would replace Sajjan Jindal as the chairman of the I-League Committee.
Meanwhile, the international friendly against Palestine on February 6 will be played in Cochin.