The Indian Super League, organised by the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) will start on September 21, as the apex body rejected the plea of Kalyan Chaubey, the president of the All India Football Federation, to defer the starting date by 10 days.
FSDL issued a statement on Thursday, saying that there was no scope for postponement of the schedule and that it was made keeping the AFC Asian Cup and the FIFA windows in mind.
“The ISL 10 season schedule to begin on September 21st has been created and approved with extensive consultations involving all stakeholders, including the AIFF. Basis the recommendations of AIFF on the league window, the final start dates were calendered,” FSDL said in a statement.
“All stakeholders have formally agreed to the schedule’s dates and structure, which incorporates necessary breaks to accommodate FIFA windows and breaks for the AFC Asian Cup. Given the packed football calendar, the season schedule has been designed to consider all these factors leaving no scope for postponement of the tournament at this stage.”
Earlier, Chaubey had reportedly requested FSDL to delay the start of the league by 10 days, with the Indian men’s football team in action in the Asian Games this month.
Several clubs, including Mumbai City FC, Kerala Blasters and East Bengal, had earlier written to the AIFF expressing their hesitation about releasing playing for the Asiad. The clubs can actually refuse to release players for Hangzhou as the Games are out of the FIFA international window.
All players from the Asian Games squad play in the Indian Super League and if the ISL teams choose to keep their players early on in the season, India may just be forced to withdraw without a proper squad.
The Indian team’s head coach, Igor Stimac and the general secretary of the AIFF have both requested the clubs to release players.