New Delhi: A day before the crucial meeting between the I-League clubs and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in New Delhi on Saturday, it is reliably learnt that the national body is more inclined to offer the AFC Cup play-off slot to Indian Super League (ISL) champions.
Officials involved in the intense negotiation in the past few days claimed that the AIFF has more or less made up its mind to allot the AFC Cup play-off spot to ISL winners, instead of the giving it to the winner of a tournament which will have two or four teams each from the I-League and ISL.
"Yes, the AIFF is willing to grant the AFC Cup play-off berth to ISL. It will communicate this final decision to the stakeholders soon. This is a shot in the arm for ISL," an official involved in the negotiations on the issue told PTI.
But, nobody from the AIFF is coming on record to confirm the development.
This comes after the AIFF's executive committee meeting on Thursday in Mumbai where its president Praful Patel batted for the ISL and the I-League to be run simultaneously from this coming season. The AIFF also had its special general meeting before the executive committee meeting on Thursday.
Granting the AFC Cup play-off berth to the ISL winners would mean that the ISL would no longer be a private tournament but a recognised league under the aegis of the AIFF, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Fifa.
The AIFF will, however, have to get the approval from the AFC regarding this decision.
It must be noted that the AFC had asked the AIFF to decide on the league structure as soon as possible.
There is also speculation that two new ISL franchises may be announced before the India versus Kyrgyzstan Asian Qualifier match on 13 June in Bangalore.
Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 22:44 PM