NEW DELHI: The League Committee of the All India Football Federation, chaired by Mr Lalnghinglova Hmar, met via video conferencing on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
Present along with Mr Hmar in the League Committee meeting were Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, and Committee Members Mr M Satyanarayan, Mr Arif Ali, Dr Kiran Chougule, Mr Amit Chaudhuri, Mr Caetano Fernandes, Mr Reginold Varghese and AIFF CTO Mr Vincent Subramaniam.
Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran said, “The committee has done exceptional work in terms of bringing more value to the league and the clubs in India. There is an encouraging environment for more clubs to be part of the Hero I-League. The Hero 2nd Division League was very competitive last season. I’m sure the two promoted clubs Delhi FC and Shillong Lajong will add a lot of value to the league.
“We will have a better and improved structure for the IWL this season, more games in youth competitions and hope to welcome more new teams in the Hero I-League. Five bids for a direct entry to the Hero I-League 2023-24 season just goes to show the interest in our league structure,” he further stated.
Committee chairman Mr Hmar said, “We’re one of the most important committees of the AIFF. The footballing success of a country is judged by the FIFA Rankings as well as the level and structure of the national league. The league committee is determined to play a strong role in shaping our league football structure. We can also take inspiration from other countries across Asia and look into how we can adopt some of their best practices into our football. I would also like to congratulate Delhi FC and Shillong Lajong for earning promotion to the Hero I-League, and Gokulam Kerala for winning the Hero IWL.”
The AIFF received five proposals to bid for the Hero I-League 2023-24 as direct entrants: YMS Finance Pvt Ltd (Kolkata), Namdhari Seeds Pvt Ltd (Punjab), Nimida United Sports Development Pvt Ltd (Bengaluru), Concatenate Advest Advisory Pvt Ltd (Delhi) and Bunkerhill Pvt Ltd (Gurugram).
Tier 1 Bids came from Cities like Delhi, Gurugram and Bengaluru, Tier 2 Bid from Varanasi and Tier 3 from Sri Bhaini Sahib village. The bids will be accessed and reviewed by Financial experts to decide on which team(s) will participate in the Hero I-league 2023-24 season.
The League Committee decided that the Hero IWL 2023-24 season will consist of eight teams – the top four teams from both the groups of the Hero IWL 2022-23 season.
A 2nd Division will be introduced and the state champions will compete in the same. The top two teams from the 2nd Division will qualify for the IWL 2024-25 and two teams from 2023-24 will be relegated. The nomination date for the 2nd Division will be confirmed by the committee later.
The Men’s 2nd Division League 2023-24 will consist of eight teams – three teams from the 2022-23 Hero 2nd Division League, who failed to secure promotion to the Hero I-League from the Final Round, two relegated Hero I-League 2022-23 teams and three teams from the 3rd Division will qualify to make it eight teams.
The 3rd Division is set to be introduced, which will serve as a platform for state champions and nominated teams by the state. No Hero ISL reserve team will be a part of the 2nd Division League or 3rd Division League 2023-24. The last date of nomination of teams for 3rd Division is 30th July 2023.
The committee also approved a new format for the U-13 & U-15. The U-13 league will be played in a 7v7 format, while the U-15 league will be played as 9v9.
States will need to finish the state leagues by October and the national leagues will begin by November.