The crucial meeting took place in New Delhi which brought to the fore significant recommendations.

A landmark AIFF League Committee meeting took place on 27 September 2022 at the Football House in New Delhi. It was chaired by AIFF Executive Committee member from Mizoram Lalnghinglova Hmar. The list of designators that were also present at the meeting included AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran and Deputy Secretary General Sunando Dhar.

League Committee members were present at the meeting as well, namely, Amit Chaudhary (Tripura), Dr Reginold Vargese (Kerala), KP Singh (Chandigarh), Kiran Chowgule (Maharashtra), M Satyanarayan (Karnataka) and Nizamuddin (Lakshadweep). Leave of absence was granted to Deputy Chairman Santanu Pujari (Assam) and Arif Ali (Uttarakhand). 

The main objective of the meeting was to take key decisions in order to fortify India’s domestic leagues. They are key in developing Indian football as a whole and will take it forward to bigger heights. Here is a look at some of the key decisions that were taken by the AIFF League Committee.

Number of Foreign Players

One of the main recommendations of the AIFF League Committee to the AIFF Executive Committee was to increase the number of foreigners to 5+1 in an I-League matchday squad. However, a maximum of four foreign players (3+1) would be allowed in the starting lineup. From the 5+1 number, five foreigners could be from any country in the world while one has to be from an Asian nation. 

A foreigner of an Asian quota can only be substituted by another Asian foreigner or an Indian player.

Number of Teams in the Second Division League

Another key recommendation by the AIFF League Committee was that the Second Division League should have 15 teams from all corners of India. It should also involve the reserve teams from I-League and the Indian Super League and the final rounds shall take place on a home-away basis.

Interestingly, the Committee recommends that no foreign player should feature in the Second Division League, to allow more exposure and game-time to budding Indian footballers. Furthermore, it will not be mandatory to have a certain number of players under the age of 22 in the squad for the Second Division League.

No Foreigners in State Leagues

One of the major recommendations by the League Committee to the Executive Committee comes in the shape of disallowing foreign players in the state leagues. This is to promote the participation of domestic players which would eventually lead to the growth of homegrown talent and Indian football in general.

This would change the landscape of state leagues as there is a lot of foreign representation in them. Many players from other countries come to India and play for clubs in state leagues, which may come to a halt in the future.

Multiple Venues for the Indian Women’s League

A positive decision in terms of growing women’s football in India was also taken at the meeting. The AIFF League Committee recommended that the Indian Women’s League shall take place at multiple venues, instead of single venues with a handful of stadiums.

This would be key in attracting more crowds for the IWL matches, which are very entertaining and full of quality football.

Other Major Decisions

Multiple other decisions were also taken during the AIFF League Committee meeting. A recommendation to remove licensing criteria in the IWL and the Second Division League, and the Academy Accreditations criteria in the Youth League was also made. This would further broaden the base of the game and develop the sport in the country. 

Kenkre FC’s plea to remain in the I-League was accepted sympathetically and the same has been recommended to the Executive Committee by the League Committee. Another recommendation suggests that two teams from the I-League will relegate to the Second Division League.

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