I-League: Home-and-away format to stay
New Delhi:The I-league clubs Wednesday flatly rejected the idea of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to introduce the US conference format and decided to stick to the home-and-away schedule.
AIFF had proposed the conference model to save the rising costs, but the I-League clubs at their meeting felt any tinkering with the format will only kill the charm of the show-piece event of Indian football.
"We have clearly rejected the conference model, it will kill the league`s charm," Raj Gomes, secretary of Salgaocar Club and president of the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA), told IANS.
Confirming the clubs` aversion to any changes in the league format, I-League chief executive Sundando Dhar told IANS that they have been asked to come up with their suggestions.
"Now that the clubs have rejected what we have proposed, they have to come up with workable suggestions which would be discussed at the executive committee meeting or if need be at an emergency general meeting," said Dhar.
The conference model would have saved the AIFF around Rs.2 crore since it spends Rs.15 lakh in ferrying and board and lodging of the teams during the league season.
While the I-League clubs want the AIFF to bear the entire cost, the federation expressed its readiness to fork out only a portion of it.
"Spending Rs.2 crore on taking care of the teams is not too much for the AIFF," said Gomes.
The I-League chief executive said the federation could only spend Rs.35 lakh.
"We have informed the clubs that we can only spend Rs.35 lakh," Dhar said.
The I-league committee also informed the clubs about Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) criteria that all I-League Clubs would need to have a coach possessing a Pro-Licence Degree from 2017 onwards. The clubs were also informed that no technical director without an A-Licence degree would be allowed to sit on the team bench or enter the dressing room.
The clubs also requested that the number of foreign recruits in 2nd division I-League be increased to two from one in accordance with the state league.
The fate of Pailan Arrows, AIFF`s developmental side, will also be decided in the next executive and the emergency committee of the AIFF.
The Federation Cup draw was also held. The tournament will be played on an home and away basis and the dates will be announced soon.
Round of 16:
Match No. 1: Prayag United vs Team 16 (Prayag play their Home-match first).
Match No. 2: Salgaocar SC vs Team 15 (Salgaocar play their Home-match first).
Match No. 3: Sporting Clube de Goa vs Rangdajied FC (Sporting Clube de Goa play their Home-match first).
Match No. 4: JSW vs Churchill Brothers (JSW play their Home-match first).
Match No. 5: Mohammedan Sporting vs Dempo FC (Mohammedan Sporting play their Home-match first).
Match No. 6: Mohun Bagan vs Pune FC (Mohun Bagan play their Home-match first).
Match No. 7: Mumbai Tigers vs East Bengal (Mumbai Tigers play their Home-match first).
Match No. 8: Shillong Lajong FC vs Mumbai FC (Shillong Lajong FC play their Home-match first).
Quarterfinal 1: Winner of Match 1 vs Winner of Match 3
Quarterfinal 2: Winner of Match 5 vs Winner of Match 7
Quarterfinal 3: Winner Match 2 vs Winner Match 4
Quarterfinal 4: Winner Match 6 vs Winner Match 8
Semifinal 1: Winner of Quarterfinal 1 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 2
Semifinal 2: Winner of Quarterfinal 3 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 4