Indian national football team coach Stephen Constantine is not the only person who is spearheading the fight for India to have a single football league. Several fans took to social media on Thursday to give their views on the same and the hashtag #OneLeague spread like wildfire.
And the movement has finally borne fruit as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has admitted that he is willing to discuss the way ahead with parties from IMG-R - the organisers of the Indian Super League -- and the I-League clubs.
And a single league system is set to be the main topic of discussion as the interested parties meet in Mumbai today.
Jérôme Valcke, the FIFA General-Secretary, who will be stepping down from his post in February next year, along with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, had also echoed the need for a single league.
Standing in solidarity with the I-League, Valcke had mentioned that the domestic premier league is the only league that can be recognised by the world football governing body, and it was baseless to have two leagues operating in a nation.
However, following the success of the first edition of the Indian Super League, conclusions were drawn from all quarters that the end of the I-League is near, and the ISL is going to be the mainstay in Indian football.
Even the AIFF bosses have insisted many-a-times that both the leagues can operate simultaneously and can complement each other.
However, the feasibility of the same has been questioned as the national team gets affected in the long run and excessive football also takes a toll on the players. And Constantine has been outspoken about this, while vehemently criticising the current football calendar in the country.
In the meeting today between I-League club owners and the ISL organisers, it has been reported that representatives from only four I-League clubs -- Sporting Clube de Goa, Shillong Lajong FC, Salgaocar FC and Mohun Bagan -- will be attending.
Pune FC, praised for their professionalism, will join Shillong outfit Royal Wahingdoh in skipping the meeting, where there is going to be an "open discussion". AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das spoke to The Times of India: "There is no fixed agenda. It's an open discussion where we will listen to what the clubs have to say and the club owners can hear the views of IMG-R."
Sporting Goa President Peter Vaz is adamant there is little chance that the I-League can co-exist with the ISL. "There is no way that both leagues can co-exist. Since the ISL became so successful, the AIFF must expand the ISL throughout the country with probably 16 to 20 teams. They should have a league running for nine months," Vaz stated.
The same has been echoed by Mohun Bagan finance secretary Debashish Datta. "You just cannot have two leagues. At the meeting, we will only hear from IMG Reliance and the AIFF," Datta said.