The AIFF plans to restructure the I-League along the lines of Major League Soccer.

“More than half the budget is spent on travel because of the vast expanse of the country. Having a conference system, East and West, will drastically cut it, with the winner of each division playing in a two-way final,” I-League CEO Sunanda Dhar said.

The federation has also moved to allow at least two corporate-sponsored clubs entry into next season’s competition.

Two government-run entities, ONGC and Air India, are to be debarred for failing AFC’s strict club licensing policy. (Each club has to be a separate registered private entity/company.) Final bids are expected to be in by May 15.

However, there is already gloom, with the big-spending, trophy-hungry Kolkata clubs facing a financial crunch after the chit-fund scandal in Bengal.

Churchill Brothers owner, Churchill Alemao, too, has taken Kolkata-based non-banking financial company NVD to court for not fulfilling its obligations. He had to sell his properties to settle player salaries.

Churchill will also have to wait until the start of next season in August-September, according to Dhar, to collect its prize money. With money being tight, immediate progress looks unlikely.

Keywords: I-Leaguefootball

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