You can’t have a top league sans lifeline clubs of India: IFA

A day ahead of a meeting of officials of world football’s governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) here, Utpal Ganguli, Secretary of the Indian Football Association (IFA), West Bengal’s parent football body, said the major point of discussion would be to safeguard the interests of heritage clubs when one league is conducted.

“When you are thinking of having one league. You cannot do that without including lifeline clubs of India,” Ganguli told reporters here on Tuesday.

“We need to convince them (FIFA and AFC officials) that why the top league of the country cannot run without these clubs (East Bengal and Mohun Bagan),” he added.

FIFA and AFC officials will meet the state association and East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting officials to discuss the way forward as to how there can be one league in the country from 2018.

A two-member team comprising of Nic Coward, a consultant to FIFA, and Alex Phillips, Head of AFC-UEFA Affairs, is expected to meet the stakeholders of Indian football this month.

Besides Kolkata, they would also meet all clubs from the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League second division with the delegates expected to travel to Delhi, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Guwahati and back to the national capital.

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