The I-League Core Committee met at the AIFF Headquarters in Dwarka, New Delhi on Monday (August 24, 2015). The Vice-Chairman of the I-League Committee, Ankur Dutta chaired the Core Committee meeting in attendance of the AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das, I-League CEO, Sunando Dhar and AIFF’s Technical Director Scott O’ Donell.
Also present in the meeting were, AIFF Vice-Presidents Subrata Dutta and Shrinivas Dempo, Mandar Tamhane (Bengaluru FC), Debashish Dutta (Mohun Bagan AC), Nicholas Jyrwa (Royal Wahigdoh FC) and Adlear D’Cruz (Salgaocar FC).
The I-League Core Committee approved the 2nd Division League criteria. Tentatively eleven clubs – LoneStar Kashmir FC, Guwahati FC, Mohammaden Sporting Club, DSK Shivajians FC, PIFA Sports, Kenkre Sports, Dempo SC, NEROCA FC, Fateh Hyderabad FC, Gangtok Himalayan SC and Minerva FAC – will participate in the 2nd Division League 2015-16, subject to fulfillment of the Club Licensing Criteria.
The Committee also approved plans for the 2nd Division League 2015-16 to be played on a home and away basis. The Preliminary Round will be played in a Conference System with the teams being divided into Eastern and Western Conferences. Top three teams from each Conference will qualify for the Final Round of the 2nd Division League 2015-16.
Furthermore, in an attempt to efficiently widen the Indian footballing scenario, the Committee approved a Qualifying Round for the 2nd Division League 2016-17. Top two teams of each state, excluding Hero I-League 2015-16 and 2nd Division League 2015-16 participants, will get to participate in the Qualifiers, which will act as a feeder system to the 2nd Division League 2016-17.
Keeping in tune with AIFF’s strategic plan to expand the Youth Leagues, this season’s U-15 and U-18 I-League will see an increased participation of more than 25 teams each. The respective leagues will kick-off in four zones across India from the first week of October 2015. Guwahati and Shillong Zone, Maharashtra Zone, Goa Zone, Kolkata and Jharkhand Zone, will constitute the four Zones where the zonal home and away matches will kick-off. The Rest of India Zones will be played at a central venue in the month of November and December 2015.
The Committee also put an onus on the participating teams of the U-15 and U-18 I-Leagues to curb the menace of age fraud in India. The teams would be adhering to the recommendation of the Medical Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) while registering the players.
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)