Mr. Subrata Dutta, Senior Vice President, All India Football Federation and Chairman, League Committee chaired AIFF League Committee Meeting held via video conferencing today (April 18, 2020 from 4 pm onwards).
Besides Mr. Subrata Dutta, Chairman of the League Committee and AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das and League CEO Mr. Sunando Dhar, Mr. Lalnginglova Hmar, Mr. Souter Vaz, Mr. Anil Kumar, Mr. BK Roka, Mr. Chirag Tanna and Mr. Rochak Langer attended the meeting; while Mrs. Priti Srivastava attended the meeting as an invitee. Ms. Swati Kothari, GM (S&O) and International Relations was also present.
The meeting was summoned to discuss various issues pertaining to League affairs for the 2019-20 season in the context of the Covid19 pandemic, and with footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF staying suspended as per advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and directives from several State Governments.
In light of the above, the Committee deliberated various matters and recognising Covid-19 global crisis as a force majeure event of unique and unprecedented circumstances, recommended the following to the AIFF Executive Committee.
1. The Committee recommended that the 2019-20 season be deemed to be concluded.
2. That Mohun Bagan be declared as the Hero I-League champion for the 2019-20 season as they stand atop current standings in the Hero I-League until the point of suspension on March 14, 2020.
Furthermore, Mohun Bagan with 39 points from 16 matches enjoy a point difference which is insurmountable by any other team even if all other matches had been played and concluded as a normal course of action.
3. With regards to the remaining clubs, and noting the concerns expressed by many of them in writing, the League Committee recommended the remaining prize money (apart from the champion’s prize money) be equally divided among the remaining 10 participating clubs.
4. The Committee also recommended that there be no relegation from the Hero I-League 2019-20 season.
5. In reference to the Hero 2nd Division, the Committee waits for approval over regulatory matters from the AIFF Executive Committee and the Asian Football Confederation to understand the feasibility of organising a shorter duration tournament next season for qualification to the Hero I-League 2020-21.
6. Meanwhile, with nearly 500 matches yet to completed in various youth leagues, the Committee felt it would be an injustice for kids and youth players to be compromising with social distancing, and hence, recommended to stand by the conclusion of all youth leagues in the current season – the Hero sub-junior League, the Hero Junior League, the Hero Elite League, and the U-17 Khelo India Girls League – and start afresh from 2020-21 season.
7. Understanding the current crisis, the Committee felt it needed to be flexible as per AIFF Academy Accreditation is concerned — as the primary objective is to increase participation of clubs and players. Hence, the Committee recommended for an extension of the deadline for submission of the requisite documentation after the ongoing lockdown is revoked.