AIFF enters the fray to save Pune clubs, say India will have one league by 2017-18

SOON AFTER word broke out that Pune FC and Bharat FC were about to shut down their first teams, efforts ensued behind the scenes on the behalf of AIFF to take stock of the situation. AIFF President Praful Patel contacted the management of the clubs to find out exactly where things stood, and if anything could be worked out. The two clubs, reportedly, do not see it as a feasible option to continue to be in the I-League.

Patel them apparently told them to at least try and keep one team from Pune in the I-League. He suggested a merger between Pune FC and Bharat FC. But that does not seem to be a bright possibility at this point. 

Speaking to Bengali newspaper Ei Samay, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das revealed that Patel then told them about upcoming plans for Indian football that they have, to try to sway them to stay. Das said,

"From the 2017-18 we will have just one league in the country. Whether that will be ISL or I-League is still unclear. But when that happens corporates will be more interested, they will want to re-build their teams."

While that plan, if brought to fruition, will be great for Indian football as a whole, it does not seem to be having too much of an effect on the situation at hand.

Chirag Tanna, Pune FC's Head of Operations, refused to divulge much of what is going on inside their boardroom. Saying that a final call was yet to be taken, and an official statement from the club will be issued only at the start of September.

Bharat FC, meanwhile, have kept mum. But all in all, when a club does not outright deny the possibility that its first team is about to shut shop, it usually means the conditions are indeed quite dire.

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