Six rebel I-League clubs, namely East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, asking him to intervene and solve the ongoing issue between the clubs and the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The clubs pointed out that making the Indian Super League (ISL), a closed league, the top division could hamper the progress of Indian football.

Previously on July 3, the clubs met AIFF President Praful Patel and after which the Indian FA and the clubs had released a joint statement that said the clubs were satisfied with the discussion.

But a few hours later, they changed their stance and sent out another press release stating that they would not compromise over I-League’s status and went on to propose a roadmap for Indian football.

On July 8, they upped their ante and wrote to Prime Minister Modi ‘asking to set up an enquiry commission to probe the manner in which the AIFF is functioning.’

“The President was visibly disappointed and vexed with the actions of the I-League clubs. He had assured them that he would fight for them and get their demands (broadcast quality and prime time slots) ratified. But their change of stance and the kind of words they used in their letter to the honourable Prime Minister has not gone down well with the federation. Things cannot be resolved by fighting and smearing the parent body. One must amicably solve them through meaningful dialogue,” said a member of the Executive Committee to Goal.

The official also revealed that a couple of the Executive Committee members had asked the President to defer the decision on the matter until another round of dialogue with the I-League clubs. However, the President pointed out that none of the clubs had taken his suggestions on board during their meeting on July 3.

However, he further asked the two members to speak to the clubs on his behalf and find a solution themselves. But the two members dropped the issue at that point, the official revealed.

Following the meeting, the AIFF has sent in its recommendations to the AFC to award the AFC Champions League qualification spot to the ISL winners. They have also requested the AFC to send a high-level delegation led by General Secretary Dato Windsor John at the earliest to address the issues of I-League, I-League clubs and the future roadmap of Indian Football.

The AIFF had also said it hopes to discuss these issues with all stakeholders of Indian Football including the AIFF’s commercial partners – Football Sports Development (FSDL) – to arrive at a fair solution in presence of the AFC delegation.

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