AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey confirmed that the 2019 roadmap will be followed as agreed between the stakeholders.

The AIFF (All Indian Football Federation) on Saturday announced that the winners of I-League 2022-23 will play in next season’s Indian Super League (ISL), as per the roadmap agreed between all parties involved in 2019.

“The winners of the Hero I-League will stand a chance to be promoted to the Hero ISL season 2023-24,” AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey said in a tweet. He also announced that the promotion is subject to fulfilling sporting merit and clearing the Premier 1 Licensing criteria.

As agreed in the 2019 roadmap between AIFF, AFC and the stakeholders of both leagues, clubs promoted to the ISL will not have to pay any participation fee. “They (I-League winners) will not give any (participation) fee,” AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran was quoted as saying by PTI.

I-League 2022-23 will kick-off on November 12 at Manjeri with a blockbuster clash between the defending champion Gokulam Kerala and last year’s runner’s up Mohammedan Sporting. The league this year will be live telecast on Eurosport and DD Sports. Meanwhile, Disney+ will be live streaming the competition.

Speaking about I-League having two different broadcasters this season, the AIFF Secretary-General thanked FSDL for their efforts. “The I-League is getting to a better situation, and we would like to thank our marketing partners FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited) and others who have made this decision encouraging in terms of broadcasting and production quality,” Dr. Prabhakaran had said in a press conference on Friday.

Khel Now also understands that Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) have always been very keen to adhere to the roadmap that was agreed between them and the other stakeholders, including AIFF and AFC three years ago. While several reports had indicated that FSDL had held talks with AIFF to delay the promotion and relegation in India’s top-tier league, Khel Now understands that to be untrue.

In contrast, FSDL has actively worked alongside the Indian football governing body to make the I-League a better and more competitive league. It has also played a proactive role in helping the AIFF bag broadcasting partners for the I-League this season. The promotion and relegation in the ISL, as agreed in the roadmap, will begin from the 2024-25 season.

As per the roadmap, the I-League champions from the next two seasons will get a direct entry to the top-tier. The AIFF Secretary-General also confirmed the same to the news agency.

“The decision is as per the roadmap which was agreed earlier. We have just continued with the roadmap,” Dr. Prabhakaran said. “This will end all the speculation and will take Indian football forward. The I-League clubs will welcome this decision.”

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