KOLKATA: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Dato Windsor John on Wednesday said while taking a call on starting one Indian football league, the best of "heritage clubs" and "modern" ones have to be taken into consideration.
At present the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) run simultaneously.
"No. I am not sure if you are aware there was a big (meeting). I have not seen the report yet. Once we see the report two-three experts will take a call on what is to be done," Windsor John told reporters on the sidelines of the FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final between England and Brazil here.
"On one side there are legacy clubs. On the other side are the modern clubs. How do we take the best of both for Indian football. I think that should be the focal point rather than merger."
The AFC had a all stakeholders' meeting earlier this year where it was decided that for the short term I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) will be take place simultaneously while in the longer run there has to be one league.
"AFC in its statutes that one country one league. We just gave a provision for a transition. one league is sure. I have to reports and then we need to sit with AIFF and ISL," the AFC secretary said.
Asked about the fate of city football giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan who have refused to pay participation fee, Windsor John said their contribution over the years cannot be forgotten.
"We cannot forget their supporters' base. We are conscious of their contribution to football. If today football is alive it is because of them," he said.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das added that they are trying to merge the two leagues by next year.
"There will be one league. It's not been decided yet. Dates but most likely it will be from next season," Das said.
"They have to fulfil the criteria. They have to pay participation fee. They cannot compromise with it," Das added.
After meeting all state associations and clubs across the country, FIFA and AFC officials will do market research and then prepare a draft on the merger of the I-League and the ISL.