FIVE TOP OUTFITS INCLUDING Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan have successfully fulfilled the club licensing criteria for taking part in the I-League and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competitions for the 2015-16 season.
Apart from defending I-League champions Bagan, runners-up Bengaluru FC, East Bengal, Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar FC have also managed to obtain licenses from the AFC and the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The AIFF announced the decision in a statement after the club licensing committee met at the federation's headquarters here on Wednesday.
However, Pune FC and Bharat FC were unable to fulfil the financial and personal criterions.
Mumbai FC, Shillong Lajong FC and Royal Wahingdoh FC also failed to comply with AFC criterion as their respective home stadiums does not adhere to the required credentials. However, these clubs were granted national licenses to compete in the 2015-16 I-League.
Aizawl FC, who qualified for the I-League after winning the Second Division League last season, failed to satisfy the primary infrastructural and financial criteria. However, the committee members were extremely pleased with the sincere efforts that the north-eastern club have put throughout and they unanimously decided to grant the Mizoram outift a one time exemption.
"The process is extremely worthwhile and rigorous. It will only help to streamline Indian football in every possible perspective,"
committee chairman Girija Shankar Mungali said after the meeting.
"The criteria would only invite superior quality. The rules and guidelines would bring more professionalism and inevitably it would add more value to Indian football,"
committee member Shekhar Nagar added.