The League Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) met via video conferencing on Monday and identified a triple-tier system bidding and nine Tier 1 cities from where potential clubs could bid for places in the expanded I-League.
Structural changes to Indian football
Present along with Lalnghinglova Hmar, who was in the chair, in the League Committee meeting were Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, and Committee Members M Satyanarayan, Arif Ali, Dr Kiran Chougule, Amit Chaudhuri and Caetano Fernandes.
Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said, "This is an important meeting, and the decisions made today will have a significant impact, not only on the Hero I-League but also on the overall development of football in the country. I would like to congratulate everyone on the successful completion of the Hero I-League, and the Hero Second Division League is also at its final stage now."
"As we all know, the Roadmap of the AIFF plans to expand the league system to more teams and provide more opportunities to invest in Indian Football. I'm sure these decisions will inspire the footballing community to come forward and participate in football and create a robust league that will be able to meet the expectations of all our fans and stakeholders," He further stated.
Increase in number of teams
The first thing on the Committee's agenda was to increase the number of teams in the I-League, for which, it was recommended by the members that bids be invited in a triple-tier system in order to provide opportunities to aspiring clubs and/or investors from various socio-economic backdrops," the AIFF informed in a release on Monday.
New Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Gurugram, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, and Noida have been identified as the Tier 1 cities from where potential clubs could bid for a place in the Hero I-League. Tier 2 cities identified for the bids are -- Ranchi, Itanagar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Phagwara, Coimbatore, Manjeri, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhopal, and Shillong.
Meanwhile, the Committee also suggested that bids from clubs willing to be based out of Tier 3 towns be also invited. Entities from any village under the control of panchayats can also come up with bids, provided they own a stadium, and training facilities, which are not more than 200 km from any domestic airport.