CHENNAI: Uncertainty continues to plague the upcoming edition of the I-League, with no clarity as yet over who will be the participating teams. On Friday, a meeting of the bid evaluation committee rejected bids by all three parties interested in fielding new teams in the 2017-18 season.
The three bidders — Gokulam FC from Kerala, Ozone FC from Bengaluru and Crown Sports from Rajasthan — have been asked to re-submit their bids and given 10 days to do so. “It was informed to the house by the representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that none of the bidders could meet the requirements. Hence, the committee decided to call a retender for inclusion of corporate teams in the ensuing Hero I-League season,” a release issued by the All India Football Federation said.
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar told Express that the decision to call for fresh bids had been made after all three teams expressed confidence that they would be able to come up with improved proposals. “The bids were lacking in certain aspects and they were missing certain documents. But all three parties who bid wanted time to improve their bids.
However, there is no provision to do that. So we called for a fresh bidding process and all three have expressed confidence that they can meet all the criteria. Others are also free to bid. Last year also, the same thing had happened,” he said. The bid evaluation committee will meet in the second week on September to take a call on the fresh bids.
Mumbai return unlikely
Dhar also shed light on the fate of Mumbai FC, who had been relegated from the I-League last year. Mumbai had shot off a letter to AIFF president Praful Patel that they too be reinstated like Aizawl FC was last year, as the league had lost a couple of teams in Bengaluru FC and DSK Shivajians. “The president received the letter and right now the federation’s stand is that we cannot reinstate relegated teams ever year.”