The Indian Footballing setup is undergoing a huge change, with the ISL finally being converted from a ‘tournament’ to a ‘league’, as the Asian Football Federation(AFC) has given it official recognition.
Now, there will be two leagues in India, the ISL and the I-League.
ISL had applied for the official status a long time ago. The AFC sent in its consent letter to the All India Football Federation today, thereby bringing about two leagues in the country.
With regard to the qualifying for the AFC Champions League, the I-League winners will play in the AFC Champions League qualifiers whereas the the ISL winners will play in the qualifiers for the AFC Cup.
For the I-League winners, there is this chance of playing the AFC Cup, if they fall out of the AFC Champions League qualifiers.
AFC is however looking for a better long term plan as it has dished this one out in a hurry.
Bengaluru FC have gone deep into the AFC Cup, and will play a two legged tie against North Korea’s 4.25 SC in August and September.
This new arrangement has been done in the best interests of the entire Indian footballing setup. The I-League still has been given more importance than the ISL, as it is India’s longest running football league. The ISL though won’t feel hard done by this and would welcome this official ‘league’ status granted by the AFC.
Hopefully Indian football goes into the right direction with two leagues functioning, as more and more players would get the opportunity to ply their trade at the highest level.