ISL: New entrants SC East Bengal, others fail to get AFC license for 2020-21
ISL new boys SC East Bengal and others failed to meet the required criteria for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Club Licensing.
Indian Super League (ISL) new boys SC East Bengal failed to meet the required criteria for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Club Licensing Criteria for the 2020-21 season, The Bridge understands. Other ISL clubs like Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC are also said to have been denied the club license.
For the uninitiated, Indian football clubs have been attempting to meet a set of criteria, popularly known as the AFC club licensing criteria, in order to take part in official tournaments since 2013. Clubs have to meet five different criteria including Sporting, Infrastructure, Personnel and Administrative, Legal, and Financial.
The clubs who failed to meet the criteria will now have to request an exemption from AFC and pay subsequent fines. However, the continental body may consider exceptions this season, given the knock-on effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s been learnt that all clubs who failed the licensing procedure will have to provide assurance that they will meet all criteria next season, only then they will be allowed to take part in this year’s competitions.
Earlier, the AFC had decided to extend the deadline for submitting the necessary documents for AFC Club Licensing to November 13 for the 2020-21 season. East Bengal were meant to be beneficiaries of this extended deadline, having secured new investors only in August.
Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan FC, the new entity formed after the merger of reigning ISL champions ATK FC and reigning I-League champions Mohun Bagan, have met the required criteria.
Failing to meet the criteria is not a new thing for Indian club — every season, a few clubs end up in this list. Last year itself, ISL clubs like NorthEast United FC, Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City failed to get the license. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, then in the I-League, had also been denied.
The new Indian Super League season kicks off on November 20th with a clash between heavyweights ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters.