THE THIRD edition of 'The Football Movement' was held in Mumbai. And among the attendees were Premier League General Director Richard Masters, Coach Gary Monk, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, representatives from ISL clubs.
The major discussion of the conference was 'Commercial Sustainability and the Growth of Football in India'. TFG caught up for a quick chat with AIFF GS Kushal Das on the sidelines of the event.
We asked him about the upcoming Super Cup that will see clubs from ISL and I-League compete against each other.
When asked whether a knock-out tournament should have been held in parallel to the leagues rather than after it's over, he replied,
"Ideally yes, but you have to understand we had the U-17 World Cup. The calendar was a problem, this is the beginning of the Super Cup so as we go along try and see what should be the best format. But I think it is important the I-League and the ISL clubs to play together and see how it works. Ideally, it should work the same way as the FA Cup does but like I said, this is the beginning and hopefully we will improvise on that."
For those who have followed the Federation Cup, will be familiar with the massive trophy the winners get a chance to lift it. It is a gigantic looking cup that the winners are proud to get their hands on.
But the Super Cup will "definitely get a new trophy for sure", stated Das.
ISL which would eventually be the top division league in the country going ahead, doesn't have promotion and relegation like most top division leagues do. So when asked about his thoughts on the same, he replied,
"Of course! For sure but as I mentioned in my presentation (he was part of the panel discussion on the above mentioned topic at the conference) that India is a very young market in terms of the league. We set up the I-League only in 2007, just 10 years into that. So going forward we have to have a three-five tier league with promotion, relegation but it will take some time. We have to be patient as it can't be done overnight."
Talking further on getting structure into place, when asked if AIFF will follow the suggestions/instructions laid by AFC or will they go ahead with their own plans about the merger/one league.
"Merger is the word that has kind of vitiated by the media. There was never a merger. We have a structure of a league where we start off with a three tier league and going forward we will increase the league. We have to have the right structure and we will do it when we think it is right and proper."
Does that mean the ISL and I-League will continue to run at the same time like it has been right now?
"I don't know, I mean we will have to see. Maybe it is not simultaneous, maybe it can be a little different in terms of the happening of the league. But ultimately our idea is to start off with having a three tier league happening kind of simultaenously and going forward having a five tier league with promotion and relegation but it is not going to happen immediately. It will take some time."
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