New Delhi: An All India Football Federation
team to be based here will be among 14 clubs that will take
part in the I-League starting in November.
The decision to this effect was taken at an I-League
Committee meeting here today, after considering the various
factors like the Asian Games, availability of venues and
national team commitments.
The AIFF XI, to be coached by former Tottenham Hotspur
junior team coach Desmond Bulpin, will replace disbanded
Mahindra United in the 14-team league in the coming season.
"Asian Games (November 12-27) is the main issue as the
players will not be available for that. Then some venues will
not be available for I-League matches besides the national
team will play international friendlies in September-October,"
AIFF Secretary General Alberto Colaco told reporters.
"So, the I-League will start in the third week of
November," he said.
Asked about the AIFF XI, he said, "The team will play all
their I-League matches in Delhi whenever Ambedkar Stadium is
The meeting, attended by representatives of the clubs,
decided that the league will have 14 teams as last year,
thereby ending hopes of Shillong Lajong and Sporting Clube de
Goa who were hoping to play if the number of teams are
increased to 16.
All the A-class tournaments like Durand Cup, Federation
Cup and IFA Shield will have to be over before November.
The AIFF also told the clubs that they would have to
comply with AFC licensing criteria by the end of this year
failing which they would not be allowed to take part in the
An AFC inspection team will be in India from late October
to early November. The team will make a final inspection visit
in either January or February next year.