The Hero I-League won the silver medal in the SPIA Awards in the “Best Developing Football League of the Year” category nominated by the Asian Football Confederation in Bangkok on Tuesday. The Hero I-League is the premier league in the country and the ongoing edition is being played among 11 Clubs, the champions of whom get a slot for the AFC Champions League qualifier.
All India Football Federation President Praful Patel congratulated all the stakeholders and the clubs on winning the award. “I need to thank the Asian Football Confederation for nominating us and SPIA Awards for the recognition. My heartiest congratulations to all the stakeholders, especially the clubs who have been an integral part of the League. I would also like to congratulate the AIFF and the I-League department for their hard work,” Patel said in a statement.
Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF pointed out that it is a “wonderful moment for Indian football”. “This recognition comes two years after AIFF had won the award for the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award in 2016. It is so satisfying to see that AIFF’s initiative for developing Hero I-League pan India and introducing the Club Licensing criteria has earned Indian Football this award,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate everyone who has been part of the League – FSDL, the clubs, Hero, the fans, all other stakeholders and my colleagues in AIFF without whose support this wouldn’t have been possible,” he added.
The AIFF had earlier won the AFC Developing Member Association of the Year Award in 2016, and the AFC President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football in 2014. In addition, the AIFF was also nominated in the top-three for the AFC Grassroots MA of the Year Award in 2013.