As more and more teams pull out of the crucial Asian Football Confederation (AFC) meeting in Kuala Lumpur to discuss over a new roadmap in Indian football, the Indian Super League (ISL) have brought out a new set of rules to lure the football fans, it seems.
Joining Bengaluru FC and Aizawl FC in the meeting will be Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, who have decided to attend Wednesday's meeting after several negotiations. However, the likes of FC Pune City and NorthEast United FC and even possibly Chennaiyin FC are giving the meeting a miss.
At a time when we are debating a possible I-League and ISL merger, comes the news of some key members pulling out, making the important AFC meeting look like a complete farce and it also in a way, embarrasses India at the Asian level, for their lack of taking responsibilities.
"On Wednesday, the AFC will hear views of all stakeholders and then they will take some time to process it. I'll be surprised if any major announcement is made on the day," said an official on conditions of anonymity, to the New Indian Express.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) supremo Praful Patel, too, has decided to skip the event and has asked AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, to be present alongside I-League CEO Sunando Dhar.
At a time like this, Goal has reported that a new set of rules are being brought to effect in the ISL. The question remains now if these will indeed help the lucrative Indian football league get a recognition from the AFC, finally.
The reported new rules :
- 5 : The foreign players in the starting 11 of an ISL side has been brought down, from six to five.
- 17 : The ISL franchisees can sign up to 17 Indian players now. The earlier cut-off figure was 14.
- 2 : The ISL franchisees need to sign at least two U-21 players/
- Marquee no more : The marquee players rule has been scrapped from the ISL 2017-18 season.
There can be two reasons for this. Firstly, the marquee players have not been at their best in the past three years. Secondly, the ISL has grabbed a lot of eyeballs in the last three editions with the presence of Del Pieros and the Roberto Carlos-es.
So, from now, it could only be about Indian players and their overall growth.