In September 2017, AFC formed a joint task force with the AIFF to resolve the ongoing mess of two leagues in the country but not much was revealed regarding the future as tings were delayed due to the Delhi High Court’s order to remove the present AIFF Elected Members.
However, the AFC carved out an interim plan for the two leagues to run concurrently with the long-term objective of a single league to be achieved by 2018. The idea was to drive audience attention to one top tier league in the country, which seems like the right way to go forward as well. Despite no clarity over an accurate plan, the AIFF has now ensured that they will stick to their earlier plan of having two lower divisions as well apart from the newly merged first division of teams. The number of the teams in this top tier league hasn’t been disclosed as of yet.
“AIFF along with all its stakeholders has planned to restructure the club football model in India wherein there would be one unified league at the top followed by lower division leagues namely, League 1 and League 2 in line with global best practices,” Rathore said. “AIFF has taken the help of FIFA and AFC for smooth implementation of the aforesaid plan.” the minister added. Earlier reports said AFC was supposed to provide an outline of a merged league to the AIFF which hasn’t happened and it looks likely that the merger will be further delayed.
If done right, the merger will be the best thing to happen to Indian Football in recent times because with I-League’s fans and ISL’s marketing, the Indian football revolution will only get stronger.