The All India Football Federation's (AIFF) Executive Committee will recommend the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to positively view the request of the Indian Super League (ISL) to award the AFC Champions League qualifier spot to its winners.
The Executive Committee of the apex governing body stated that it arrived at this decision after taking into consideration the Master Rights Agreement (MRA) signed by AIFF and its commercial partner Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL). The AIFF statement also highlighted the facts that in the last five years, the national team players are mostly playing in the ISL, the TV viewership and in stadia, the audience has grown more substantially vis a vis the I-League. Also, it was pointed out that the ISL clubs are complying with the entire AFC Club licensing criteria, including strong grassroots and youth development programmes.
In order to address the issues of I-League, I-League clubs and the future roadmap of Indian Football including a unified League in a time-bound manner, the AIFF Executive Committee requested the AFC to send a high-level delegation led by General Secretary Dato Windsor John at the earliest. The AIFF said it hopes to discuss these issues with all stakeholders of Indian Football including the AIFF's commercial partners - Football Sports Development (FSDL) to arrive at a fair solution in presence of the AFC delegation.
The statement further touched upon the meeting between the I-League clubs and AIFF President Praful Patel on July 3. The Indian FA expressed its disappointment at the contrary stand taken by the clubs after the meeting.
The statement read - "In the meeting of the I-League clubs along with the AIFF President and the General Secretary held on July 3, 2019, in Delhi, some broad proposals were discussed, and a joint statement was issued by AIFF and the I-League clubs.
"These amicable discussions were to be presented to the AFC Executive Committee for further consideration. However, on July 8, 2019, the clubs via a letter released to the media have taken a contrary stand which is not in the spirit with which the AIFF President had met the clubs. As a result, AIFF has, therefore, asked the AFC to find a possible solution."
It must be noted that while the AIFF has sent in its recommendations to the AFC, it is highly unlikely that the continental body will ask the AIFF to change or reverse their decision. For all practical purposes, the decision or recommendation of the AIFF Executive Committee should go through without any hitches.