AIFF to evaluate I-League entry bids Aug 18

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) bid evaluation committee will meet on August 18 to decide which two of four applications from Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan for corporate entry into the I-League from the 2017-18 season onwards will make the cut.

Ozone FC from Bengaluru and Gokulam FC from Malappuram in Kerala are two of the four teams which have submitted the bid documents.

“The decision will be taken on August 18,” a senior I-League official told Calcutta Telegraph.

The I-League has never seen participation from Rajasthan and Gujarat in its 10 years’ history.

If Ozone FC, which competes in I-League second division, makes the cut, then there will be one team each from Bengaluru in the I-League and ISL respectively.

Bengaluru FC have opted for ISL after it was given an official status of an AFC Cup berth as both the tournaments will run parallel after AIFF’s merger plan failed.

If Gokulam FC’s bid is accepted, they will be the first team from Kerala after Chirag United were relegated in 2011-12.

With DSK Shivajians unlikely to continue in the I-League due to their financial woes, the AIFF are expected to take two more teams and cap the participating teams number at 10, the same as ISL.

“We can’t have more than two new teams,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told Times of India.

The AIFF had invited bids from new clubs last month from various cities across the country, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ranchi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram.