AIFF President Praful Patel with Francois Richier (Ambassador of France to India), Denis Schaeffer (Director FC Metz), Kushal Das, Eric Benny and AIFF Academy boys in New Delhi during an event earlier this year.AIFF Media

All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel has stated that the draft proposal to revamp the Indian football calendar from the 2017-18 season will give the Indian footballers a huge boost to play the game on a national stage. According to the draft proposal, the new calendar will feature the Indian Super League as the top-tier club football competition of the country while the I-League and the second division I-League will become the second-tier and third-tier events, respectively.

The latest development has evoked mixed reactions from every quarter — from the fans to the players. While the new structure could have its share of drawbacks, it could come as a boon as well to the plenty of talented footballers who do not get a chance to shine on the national stage.

Patel feels the same as well.

"If you don't create the opportunity, you will never be able to go for it. I agree, that for one year or so, it will suffer, as bad as that sounds. If you give the opportunity then it will happen in a few years," the AIFF supremo said to Goal.

"For example, Chennaiyin FC have signed five youngsters [Anirudh Thapa, Prosenjit Chakraborty, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Baoringdao Bodo and Bedashwor Singh] sent on loan to FC Metz by the AIFF. So if such young talent is supported, more opportunity will rise," he added.

While this definitely comes as a positive note for the plenty of youngsters in India who are keen to take up football professionally in their career, there remains a question about whether there are indeed enough professional players in the country to take part over the three club football tiers.

"In a big country like India, we have to create opportunity. We are not having three different leagues, we are having three different tiers," Patel continued. "It's a chicken and egg situation. Should we have more players first or create an opportunity for them?" 

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