I-League to start in November with 14 teams

August 4th, 2010 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) Wednesday decided against expanding the I-League to 16 teams and pushed back the tournament by two months for a November start.
The I-League committee that met here agreed to keep the number of teams at 14, as against the proposed 16. Sporting Clube de Goa, who were relegated along with Lajong FC, will make way for promoted ONGC and HAL while newly formed AIFF XI will replace the disbanded Mahindra United.

The committee decided to push back the league, which was scheduled for a September start, due to non-availability of stadia, the Asian Games in China, ODI cricket matches and the Commonwealth Games. The league will end in May next year.

“We can’t have any matches in Delhi of our new team, AIFF XI, due to the Commonwealth Games. Then, clubs also won’t have players because of the Asian Games. The Nehru Stadium in Goa and Kochi will not be available till November due to the India-Australia ODI matches,” a I-League committee member told IANS.

The official said that a September start would have seen several disruptions in the League.

“The clubs will also not have the top players as 30 players are unavailable due to the senior team’s Asian Cup preparations. And the absence of another 20 players for the Asian Games would have made the League a lacklustre affair,” the official said.

The official also said all clubs have agreed to release players for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Nov 12-27. The government had earlier given the AIFF a grant of Rs.100 million for the Asian Games preparations.

The I-League committee has also set Dec 31 as the deadline for all the clubs for fulfilling the Asian Football Confederation’s club licensing criteria.

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