The AIFF in conjunction with AFC have released a roadmap for Indian football today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at a conference which had I-League and Indian Super League representatives in attendance.
AFC Champions League and AFC Cup slots
The Indian FA – AIFF’s proposal for allotting AFC competition slots has been validated by AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John. The ISL league winners will be awarded a slot in the AFC Champions League preliminary qualifiers whereas the I-League winners will participate in the AFC Cup play-offs.
The AFC Champions League spot was awarded to the I-League in 2007 and when the franchise-based ISL came about in 2014 – they were presented with a chance to compete in the AFC Cup. The recent decision by the AIFF and AFC reverses the order and the I-League is no longer the top-tier league competition in India.
Promotion and Relegation
- Two I-League teams will be offered entry into the Indian Super League next season.
- I-League winners will be promoted to the ISL from the 2022-23 season.
- From the 2024-25 season, one league and one knockout competition will be organised by the AIFF and both promotion and relegation will be implemented in the ISL.
- The promoted I-League club will not have a share in the distribution of revenue by the ISL.
- I-League clubs will have to adhere to guidelines set out by the ISL management from time-to-time to remain eligible to participate in the Indian Super League.
The sixth edition of the Indian Super League will commence on 20th October 2019 whereas the I-League is tentatively expected to start on 16th November.