A decision by the apex body is awaited as clubs look forward to promotion next season.
The 2019-20 season of I-League 2nd Division was suspended midway in March due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The AIl India Football Federation (AIFF) gave no further clarity on the future of the season.
The apex football body of the country had already decided of scrapping the season but now mulls over playing a slightly smaller tournament in August/September depending on clearance from the Government. Khel Now has learnt that eight teams from the previous season barring the development sides of Indian Super League and the I-League, will play the tournament at a neutral venue. The winner will play the 2020-21 I-League season which will reportedly begin in November later this year.
Every year, one team from the I-League 2nd Division gains promotion and qualifies for the I-League. This season in particular had the most-ever teams plying their trade in the history of the league with 17 teams. Out of those, eight teams were development sides of Indian Super League clubs and one of them was a development side of the I-League club.
“At this stage, we cannot declare the I-League 2nd Division null and void. The teams have invested heavily and the only reward for them is promotion. We hope that all the clubs come to an agreement,” an AIFF official had quoted via The Times of India.
Earlier, it was reported that the AIFF would conduct a tournament consisting of four best teams of the last season i.e. ARA FC, FC Bengaluru United, Garhwal FC and Mohammedan SC. However, the decision could have made injustice to the other teams as the qualifying rounds were yet to be completed.
Meanwhile, the AIFF have already decided to start the Indian football season from August and if the decision to play a shorter tournament comes into fruition then, the clubs will be allowed to sign and register new players.