THE AIFF ANNOUNCED today that from the I-League corporate direct entry bids, tenders submitted by two clubs have been accepted.
Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC (previously Minerva Academy and Football Club) will play in the country's top division league in the 2016-17 season which kicks off on 7th January.
This means the upcoming I-League season (which may be the last edition of the top division in its current form) will have a total of 10 clubs.
Here's the press release from AIFF Media in its entirety...
AIFF Bid Evaluation Committee met at the AIFF HQ in New Delhi today (December 11, 2016) to evaluate the five bids submitted after the retendering was initiated on November 25, 2016.
The five clubs (Neroca FC, Minerva Punjab FC, Sudeva FC, FC Bardez Goa & Chennai City FC) submitted their bids and based on the evaluation of their proposals, the Bid Evaluation Committee decided to award Chennai City FC & Minerva Punjab FC the right to field their teams in I-League season 2016-17 which is slated to commence on January 7, 2017.
"I, on the behalf of AIFF, welcome Chennai City FC & Minerva Punjab FC to the I-League family and we all hope that we will have a competitive I-League", Mr. Das stated to www.the-aiff.com.
Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab FC have already plied their trade in the Second Division League 2015-16 having secured the second position.
Mr. Das added more, "With Chennai City FC & Minerva Punjab FC joining the fray now, we have ten teams competing in the next I-League. Now, we have representatives from Chennai and Punjab, which means we'll reach out to more supporters and newer markets."
Mr. Sunando Dhar also sounded 'happy' with these clubs' inclusion.
"Yes, of course, I'm happy. New teams from two new venues will add a newer dimension to I-League and they will get a chance to rub shoulders with the top clubs of Indian Football", Mr. Dhar commented.