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I-League: Three clubs pick up bid papers, one to get direct corporate entry

I-League: Three clubs pick up bid papers, one to get direct corporate entry

The Bridge Desk

Published: 23 Jun 2020 4:40 AM GMT

Sudeva FC (Delhi), Sreenidhi FC (Visakhapatnam) and Ryntih SC (Shillong) are the three clubs which have paid Rs 4 lakh each and picked up the bid papers for a direct corporate spot in next season’s I-League, as per reports. Each of the three football clubs now have a fortnight to present their technical and financial bid for final scrutinisation, after which one club will gain direct entry into the league.

With Mohun Bagan set to play in the Indian Super League (ISL) from the coming season, having merged with ATK FC, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had invited bids for a new club in the I-League about a week back. Several clubs like Malappuram’s Luca SC, Bangalore United had expressed interest.

However, Luca SC withdrew at the last moment citing uncertainties regarding the future and issued a statement declaring the same. For Bangalore United, a club currently plying its trade in the I-League 2nd Division and that has a strong desire of playing in the I-League, something else came up as an obstacle. According to AIFF’s rules, teams from cities where ISL or I-League teams already exist won’t get direct entry no matter what.

That is why, Sreenidhi FC, originally from Hyderabad, are willing to make the switch to Visakhapatnam, should they gain a spot in the I-League, because the capital city already has a team in the Indian Super League (ISL). Ryntih SC, meanwhile, want to fill the void left by the exit of Shillong Lajong FC.

Sudeva, on their part, were one of the first clubs to express their eagerness of getting a corporate entry into the I-League.

The AIFF is looking at a 12-team tournament next season with the corporate entry replacing Mohun Bagan and another team set to get promoted from the 2nd Division. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the I-League 2nd Division had to be suspended midway with matches still left to be played. Now, the country’s chief football body is planning to host a mini tournament in September-October with the 2nd Division clubs in order to decide who gets promoted.

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