The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Bid Evaluation Committee could possibly meet next week to evaluate stock of the three submitted bids and select the bid(s) worthy of a direct entry into the I-League.
Bengaluru-based Ozone FC, Gokulam FC (based in Manjeri) and a Rajasthan-based group have submitted the bids for a spot in the league. The Indian FA had extended the deadline to table the bids to September 8 last week and are now left with three bids to evaluate. AIFF had earlier rejected the initial bids from Gokulam FC, Ozone FC and another Rajasthan-based group early last month because of incomplete and unsatisfactory bids. But according to sources close to the I-League, the Malappuram-based Gokulam FC are all set to become the newest club in the top division of Indian football, the I-League.
The Manjeri football ground in Malappuram is where the club wishes to play their home games when the season kicks off and will be the first team from Kerala to play in the I-League since the relegation of Chirag United Kerala after the 2011-12 season if the bid is indeed picked up by the AIFF as speculated. Gokulam FC’s management though is confident of a place in the I-League next season and has already set into motion talks for player recruitment, according to the sources. Gokulam, who were founded in January this year in the presence of Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Indian football legend IM Vijayan, appointed Bino George as their head coach and the former Mohammedan Sporting player will take charge of the team in the 2017-18 season.
With Kerala Blasters in the ISL being the only representative from the football crazy state of Kerala in India’s top tier football yet, the news of Gokulam FC jumping on the I-League bandwagon will be a joyous one for the fans. Do you wish to see the Malappuram side in I-League?