Kolkata, June 8: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has asked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to start planning for a long-term solution on how the two leagues can be merged in future during the U-17 World Cup in October this year. AFC, Asia’s parent body for the sport, has also put their weight behind legacy clubs saying the contribution of outfits like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to Indian football over the years is the reason corporates have shown interest in the game.
At the all stakeholders’ meeting in Kuala Lumpur, AFC headquarters on Wednesday, AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John had said in his opening speech that legacy clubs cannot be ignored and a longer league would benefit all keeping in the interests of everyone in mind.
John advised the AIFF to plan for the long-term while the junior World Cup would be on from October 6-28, while a short-term measure for the upcoming season starting November could be chalked up by Indian football federation by the next month.
“We will try to start to draw up a long-term plan from October as asked by AFC. For the upcoming season which will start after the U-17 World Cup this year, they (AFC) have asked us to mage something in the best interests of all,” a top AIFF official told IANS from Mumbai where the executive committee is slated to meet on Thursday.
“Dato Windsor John in his opening speech also said that the legacy clubs have to be taken on board and that it is because of their contribution all along that corporates have shown interest in the game and have been willing to invest,” the official further added.
Age-old Kolkata clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have been at loggerheads with Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), organisers of ISL, over franchise fee, money from central pool and playing games out of Kolkata where ISL franchise Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) are already based. It is still unsure whether they will be part of ISL this year. IANS