New Delhi: The AIFF wants to involve the second division sides in the Super Cup from next season, despite copping criticism from top I-League clubs for incorporating as many as 16 teams instead of the stated top four from each league, in the inaugural edition.
Soon after the All India Football Federation announced the inaugural Super Cup's final round schedule, I-League clubs such as Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Minerva Punjab FC lambasted the apex body over the tournament's format and schedule.
Justifying the federation's move, I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said, "There was no such fixed plan that only the top four teams from ISL and I-League would play. We always wanted that all the teams of both the leagues participate either directly into the main round or through qualifiers."
The AIFF had earlier this month announced that the qualifiers of the Super Cup are scheduled to take place between March 12 to March 31 and the final round to be held from March 31 to April 22 in a one-match format and not round robin format.
Dhar added, "Cup competition is different and why only the top teams should play" like we saw in FA Cup a third division team beating Manchester City. We haven't been able to take into account the second division teams, but hopefully, from next season second division teams may also get a chance to play in Super Cup.
"Because that's the best thing about the Cup on a given day the so-called smaller teams winning over bigger teams, that's the beauty of the Cup and we want to give a chance to every team."
While Mohun Bagan and East Bengal ridiculed the Super Cup by terming the tournament "laughing stock", Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj called it an event for everybody and not the top teams in the country.
At the time, the AIFF also said that a consensus on the number of foreigners would be arrived at after another round of discussion with the stakeholders.