New Delhi: After a gap of one year, the AIFF in all likelihood will bring back the country's blue riband tournament Federation Cup, which is expected to be held after the end of the I-League in May, 2016.
The decision was taken at the I-League committee after the representatives of the major clubs also agreed in unison. The AIFF had scrapped the tournament from its calendar during the current season as it was felt that the tournament has lost its sheen due to co-existence of I-League and Indian Super League.
"It has informally decided that AIFF is likely re-start the Federation Cup from May, 2016 after the conclusion of the I-league. It has been decided that Federation Cup will be a month-long affair rather than being a 10-day thing which has been the norm. It will be held in home and away knock-out basis," an AIFF source present at the meeting told PTI on Wednesday.
The logic behind bringing back Federation Cup into its calendar is because the I-League will be reduced to 9 teams from this season after Royal Wahingdoh's pull-out.
"Look, if it is a 9-team I-League, then each team will play only 16 I-League matches. That is an insufficient number. Now to play the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League, a club needs to play a minimum of 18 matches in a year," the source said.
"So Federation Cup will be an 8-team affair. So at least 8 teams will get a chance to play 18 matches. The 9th team of I-League in any case will be relegated. The decision to have a one-month Federation Cup was taken on AIFF Academy Director Scott Odonell's recommendation. It was seconded by senior vice-president Subrata Dutta," the source added.
It was also decided that that there will be no marquee player concept from the upcoming I-League edition. The number of foreign recruits will be simple 3+1 formula with one player being of Asian quota.