Discussions were also held on the second division team and the Indian Women’s League.

The AIFF League Committee meeting was held at the Football House in New Delhi on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, and was chaired by Mr. Lalnghinglova Hmar, the AIFF executive Committee member from Mizoram.

Also present in the meeting were AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sunando Dhar, and League Committee members Mr. Amit Chaudhary (Tripura), Dr. Reginold Vargese (Kerala), KP Singh (Chandigarh), Kiran Chowgule (Maharashtra), M Satyanarayan (Karnataka), Nizamuddin (Lakshadweep). Leave of absence was granted to Deputy Chairman Santanu Pujari (Assam), and Arif Ali (Uttarakhand).

The chairman of the committee, Mr. Lalnghinglova Hmar said: “There is a saying that a country’s football is as good as its domestic football. So, here, our job is not conducting the leagues in the routine process. Our aim is to take these meets to a level from where Indian football is taken forward. In near future, we hope to take giant steps in improving all the leagues, from senior to junior level, under the AIFF banner.” 

The League Committee, after long deliberations, recommended increasing the number of foreigners to 5+1 (5 foreigners from anywhere in the world, and one from Asia) in the squad on the match day. However, out of these, a total of four foreigners should be allowed in the playing eleven at any given point of time on a 3+1 basis.

While a foreigner on the pitch can be substituted by another foreign player on the bench or by an Indian player, a foreigner of an Asian quota can be replaced by another foreigner of an Asian quota or by an Indian. The I-League will kick-off on Saturday, October 29, 2022.

Other major recommendations

The Second Division League will have a total of 15 teams from across the country, plus the reserve teams from the ISL and I-League teams, with the final rounds being played on a home-away basis, the Committee suggested. No foreign players will be allowed in the Second Division League. To have a certain number of players under the age of 22 in the squad will no longer be mandatory in the Second Division League.

The committee has further recommended to the Executive Committee that to encourage participation of more Indian players, all state leagues across the country should be played without foreign players.

It was also recommended that two teams will be relegated from the I-League to the Second Division League.

Kenkre Football Club has appealed to the AIFF for retention in the I-League, which the Committee has sympathetically agreed to; the recommendation for the same has been forwarded to the Executive Committee.

The League Committee also suggested that the Indian Women’s League should be played across multiple venues, in order to broaden the base of the women’s game in India.

In another attempt to broad base the game, the Committee recommended to do away with the Licensing criteria in the IWL and the Academy Accreditations criteria in the Youth League.

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