Federation Cup, I-League 2nd Division to become bigger, better

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The major issues to be discussed in the AIFF committee meeting on Monday include the complete overhaul of the Federation Cup and the 2nd division Indian Football League.

Federation Cup will be played throughout the season like FA Cup on home and away basis in between the weekend I-league fixtures. This is a major step towards developing a premier product of I-league that had been marred by severe neglect and amateurishness year after year.

This will not only increase the marketability of the Federation Cup but also ensure that this puts lesser pressure on the AIFF exchequer as they had to pay 16 teams for 3 weeks’ stay at one venue. Now a team that travels for I-league away fixyure will be asked to play the Federation Cup fixture on a weekday.

However, this puts a cloud of uncertainty over the local state leagues, especially Calcutta Premier League which is already finding it hard to get a window.

The second division I-league which does not last more than a month and is played in a Cup format under questionable conditions and controversial decisions will also be overhauled. The league will now last 7 months and will be played on home and away basis. This will create a viable option for the clubs who get relegated. Also the teams that assemble foreigners for just 1 month with huge expenses will now have a full season to look forward too.

Another talking point would be the number of foreigners in the I-league. The new teams demand that it should be increased. While Mr Patel says a club could register 5 but field 4, it will be waste of resources to bench one foreigner and AIFF may ultimately settle for 4 foreigners registered and fielded.

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