Indian Women's League to have a two-tier system: AIFF
The 2023-24 Indian Women's league season will consist of two tiers along with a promotion system in place, confirmed AIFF.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran, and senior officials of the Federation met with representatives from the Hero I-League and Hero Indian Women’s League clubs at the Football House in New Delhi, on Thursday.
The Hero IWL meeting began with the welcome news of Gokulam Kerala FC being allowed to participate in the AFC Women’s Club Championship (Pilot) 2023 after the AIFF requested the AFC to allow them to participate in the 2023 edition as the winners of the 2022-23 Hero Indian Women's League.
The introduction of club licensing before the season starts as per AFC Norms was also proposed by the AIFF in the meeting to meet the AFC requirements, which will come into effect from the 2024-25 season for the AFC Women’s Club Championship.
The 2023-24 women's football league season will consist of two tiers – the Hero IWL with eight teams playing on a home-and-away basis and a second division, which will comprise the remaining eight teams from the 2022-23 Hero IWL season, and the state league winners. The top two teams of the second division will be promoted to the 2024-25 Hero IWL.
The clubs proposed their home stadiums for the 2023-24 Hero IWL season - Gokulam Kerala FC (EMS Corporation Stadium, Kozhikode), Kickstart FC (Bangalore Football Stadium, Bengaluru), Sethu FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai), Sports Odisha (Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar), Odisha FC (Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar), HOPS FC (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi) and East Bengal FC (East Bengal Ground, Kolkata).
The tentative dates suggested by the AIFF for the Hero IWL 2023-24 season are from November 18, 2023, to March 16, 2024.
Greeting all the club representatives, Kalyan Chaubey said, “This is a new dawn, and the AIFF management is looking to take the leagues in the country to the next level. At times when we sit across the table, we tend to think only of what can benefit us, but we need to put all such differences aside and think of solutions that will help all parties involved here.
“I am sure all of you are looking for good players, quality administrators, quality media engagement, and so on. I am glad to tell all of you that this time we aim to do better for the Hero I-League and the Hero IWL,” he said.
Discussions were held on a range of topics regarding the formats of the two leagues, the subsidies disbursed to the clubs, the qualities of the pitches and broadcast, the regulation of foreign players, and much more.
The AIFF discussed the possibility of having the Hero I-League in different formats. A lengthy discussion was held on the pros and cons of the formats, which the AIFF management took note of.
A decision on the same will be taken at a later date, considering all stakeholders' opinions.
The Hero I-League clubs were also advised to improve their pitch conditions and have compulsory floodlights for their matches.
A range of awards were also announced for the Hero I-League – Best Pitch, Best Match Organisation, and Best Media Activities. The winning prize for each category is Rs 2.5 lakh, while that of the runners-up is Rs 1.5 lakh.
The Hero I-League will likely start in the first week of October.