New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday released a roadmap of Indian football's future, suggesting a restructure of the current system. This future is to be achieved by creating a 3-tier system.
Under the proposed change, the Indian Super League will become the first and topmost division, the I-League as the second division, while the current second division serving as the third division. It was also decided to rename I-League as League 1, while the current second division of the league will now be known as League 2.
If reports are to be believed, then we could come to the conclusion that the Reliance-IMG partnership, who are also the marketing partners of the ISL, could have manipulated the AIFF to have replaced the I-League simply by releasing a plan that states that some of the bigger and more popular I-League clubs will be absorbed in the first division that is the ISL.
By doing so, the ISL will become much more powerful, increase supporter base and will deepen its roots in Indian football as it could feature traditional clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The riches of the ISL is the most attractive feature that could convince these traditional clubs to join the league as franchises.
Looking at the positive factors of this roapmap, AIFF plans to have a combined number of 50 teams from across the country which belong to all three divisions. This will increase the player base considerably, as it will provide opportunities to states which currently don't have a home team — in either of the existing leagues — like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh among others.
To ensure that the standard of all clubs operating in India is raised and maintained in correspondence with international ones, all the participating clubs will be expected to ensure that they fulfil the club licensing criteria for their respective leagues.
Also a boost in revenue may be possible for all these clubs as all the matches of the first two divisions will be broadcasted on television and streamed online. The third division is proposed to be broadcasted on regional channels too. This could open a new revenue stream for the clubs through television rights.