As a football fan, its sad to see that a club that has just gained glory is actually being relegated to the 2nd division if the new merged league takes place between the IMG Reliance ISL and the I-League. A historic moment created by Aizawl FC did not last long as the flavor of the taste of success was short-lived when this club was not taken into consideration to be a part of the new merged league but instead dropped to the 2nd division.
As has been previously reported, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the owners of the Indian Super League (ISL) IMG-Reliance are in talks for a merger of the I-League and the cash-rich league. However, as a part of the process, the company has sought to introduce a corporate league model in unifying the two leagues, where only three of the current I-League teams, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC would be allowed to play in the unified league, which is to become India’s top-flight league while the I-League will be the second tier, where the current champions Aizawl along with six other teams will compete.
The question is why this partiality toward Aizawl FC? If it would have been Mohun Bagan winning the league then I guess this kind of decision would never have been made. To cite an example: Suppose, If one of Football’s mega events the Champions League merges with the English Premier League and decides to form a new top league then only the top clubs will be allowed to play as their budget is higher as compared to others,so in that season when Leicester City, a club with a small budget compared to Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool etc won the Premier League and sealed a historic win just as Aizawl FC ,subsequently is not allowed to play in the top league because of low budget and relegated to the 2nd division. Will this also be partial?
As it currently stands, money is a key criteria set by the AIFF and IMG-R for a team to be part of the new league, with owners expected to pay Rs 15 crore as franchise fee, in addition to the cost of building a team and running a club. For context, Aizawl’s entire budget for their season was an estimated Rs 1.5 crores
If money is the main criteria then what about the hardwork and dedication that AizawlFC has put up. Yes proper budget and good infrastructure is needed but a major decision to take away the glory of a club is not acceptable.
This is an injustice to the sport itself.It also shows that football in India is still lacking and the system functioning the sport is concentrated more around money than the growth of the game.If AizawlFC is really excluded from the top league then it is sure to affect the growth of Indian football.
So will the glorious journey of Aizawl FC end in a perfect note or not largely depends on the governing body? Well, surely this is a time when all the football fans across India, keeping aside what club do they support should come out and rally against this decision of AIFF on AizawlFC for the sake of the game.
This article is also a message to each football fan to stand against the plight of Indian football for the betterment of it.
By NATASHA DKHAR
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belongs to the writer and TNT- The Northeast Today may not hold the same views