I-League Clubs Announce They Will Take Legal Route if AIFF Wields Axe on Them

News18 Sports
I-League clubs await for future course of action as All India Football Federation's Executive Committee Meeting Takes Place in New Delhi on Tuesday.

New Delhi: Seven I-League clubs have announced that they are ready to approach "Appropriate Courts for relief" if All India Football Federation (AIFF) decides to make the Indian Super League (ISL) the top division league and demote the I-League.

On Monday, representatives of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Churchill Brothers, Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC, NEROCA and Gokulam Kerala FC held a meeting in New Delhi, where they came up with the decision. In a joint-statement released by the clubs, they have said they are "standing united stronger than ever".

Recent media reports have stated that on July 3, AIFF is set to make ISL the top-division league in an executive meeting, which is expected to throw the future of I-League and its clubs into darkness.

Reports have suggested that in the contract that AIFF signed with IMG-Reliance in 2010 had a clause that the new league that will be constituted by the company will be elevated to the top-division status after five years.

Now that the ISL has completed its five years, it is being reported that Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), an IMG-Reliance subsidiary, has asked AIFF to honour the contract.

On the other hand, I-League clubs have been fighting a big battle for almost the entire season. The big drama began when AIFF announced that Star Sports will not be broadcasting all the matches of the second half of the I-League season.

That announcement started a legion of incidents that has thrown Indian football into absolute anarchy.

Back in February, the I-League clubs wrote a letter to AIFF president Praful Patel requesting a meeting with them to discuss their future and their inhibitions about the involvement of FSDL into the Indian footballing matters.

Till date, Patel has not met the clubs - a move that also led to the seven clubs boycotting Super Cup, for which they have received a hefty fine.

"The refusal of the President of AIFF to meet the I-League clubs in spite of several requests and the subsequent vindictive actions specifically towards the I-League clubs, combined with the coercive and blackmailing attitude of FSDL towards AIFF by refusing to make payments pushes the game to an uncertain future," the clubs said in their statement.

The clubs further said that I-League "carries the tradition of Indian Football with it" and that "this tradition has helped create what football in India stands for today."

The I-League clubs said that it is unacceptable and illegal to be told that "I-League will no longer be the TOP LEAGUE" and pledged to fight the matter together as "ONE FOOTBALL FAMILY".