I-League clubs suffered a significant blow on Friday as the All India Football Federation’s Club Licensing Committee (CLC) announced that all 14 teams had failed to meet the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Licensing Criteria.

However, the clubs have been given a lifeline for next season as they can seek an exemption for the I-League and Federation Cup, once they file an appeal with the CLC. The appeal has to be filed by August 14. The new club licensing system comprises of 75 stringent regulations and it seems unlikely the teams will be able to prove their credentials upon appeal.

The CLC is chaired by Girija Shanker Mungali. The rest of its members are FIFA Regional Developmental Officer for South and Central Asia Shaji Prabhakaran, Ushanath Banerjee, Punkaj Jain and I-League CEO Sunando Dhar.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) president Raj Gomes said that the clubs are yet to receive feedback from AIFF.

Remarkably, at the AIFF Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, president Praful Patel had asserted that the federation would be “vigilant” towards clubs applying for participation in the I-League next season. The process of implementing the new club licensing regime began in January this year. During the months of May and June, all clubs underwent physical inspection carried out by a five-member team, which included India coach Wim Koevermans.

Dempo SC, Pune FC, Salgaocar SC, Churchill Brothers, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Sporting Clube de Goa, Prayag United SC, United Sikkim, Mohammedan Sporting, Mumbai FC, Rangdajied FC, Shillong Lajong FC and Pailan Arrows are the clubs who failed the test.

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