The Asian Football Confederations has reportedly granted the Indian Super League official status. This hence confirms that the ISL will run as parallel to the I-League as India’s official football tournament in the 2017/18 season. It also means that ISL winners will be granted a spot in the qualifiers for the AFC Cup. The AFC Champions League qualifier spot, however, will be granted to the winner of the I-League, as is the case every year.
According to ESPN, AIFF confirmed that the cash-rich ISL has been granted official status but the AFC also reiterated that the I-League will provide the team that participates in the AFC Champions League qualifiers, the premier club competition in Asia. The move comes as a boost for Bengaluru FC, who became the first team to switch from the I-League to the ISL earlier in July. It is widely believed that the club had made the move depending upon the fact that a spot in the AFC Cup would still be possible. Bengaluru FC has been the most competitive Indian club in Asia’s second-tier competition. They finished runners-up last season and are also in the Inter-Zone Semi-final this year.
The ISL has been expanded to 10 teams this season with the JSW group-owned Bengaluru FC and Tata group owned team representing Jamshedpur being the two additions. The AIFF is set to meet I-League officials in Delhi on Thursday in a bid to hear out the grievances of the clubs that will play in the league.