All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Friday said merging of I-League and Indian Super League (ISL) cannot be done overnight but decided to form a working group to work out the way to unite the two in the future.
“We are working towards one entity in future, the I-League clubs and the ISL. A working group will be formed, about nine members, to work out the way,” Patel told reporters here.
Thje AIFF on Friday held a meeting with all I-League club officials and chief promoters of ISL to discuss the future road map.
“Many more discussions have to take place among the working group, among whom will be I-League club representatives, people from IMG-Reliance and AIFF members,” Patel said.
He stressed on the point that I-League is the main league and ISL is just a tournament, further adding that the success of ISL in the inaugural season has hit the I-League attendance.
“I-League is India’s main league. The ISL may be called a league, but it is in fact a tournament, like the Rovers Cup. There is naturally anxiety in I-League clubs about the future, we are aware. We are aware of low attendance due to matches timed at 3 p.m. and other issues,” Patel said.
“There has been a positive spill over effect of ISL on I-League attendances. The interest in football is getting bigger, corporates are ready to get involved now,” he said.
Patel hailed the success of ISL saying: “The ISL has been a reasonable success in the first year and is getting better. Foreign players signed for the second season are getting younger.”