Ever since the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) granted Indian Super League official recognition for 2017/18 season, there have been doubts over who will be India's representatives at AFC club competitions in 2019.
The ISL clubs will know whether they will be handed an AFC Cup slot on Tuesday, July 25, as the competition committee of the AFC is all set to meet in Kuala Lumpur and take a final call.
Notably, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) agreed to a temporary arrangement, in which both the 10-team ISL and I-League will be run simultaneously for a six-month period from November 2017.
The AIFF had also requested the AFC to give ISL winners a spot in the qualifying competition of AFC Cup -- second-tier continental competition while I-League winners will get a spot in the group stage of premier continental club tournament -- AFC Champions League (ACL).
Former I-League champions Bengaluru FC, who will be featuring in the cash-rich ISL from the 2017/18 season, stressed on the need for continental exposure even before picking up ISL bid documents earlier this year.
"It is an unusual situation with two leagues but one for the short-term. I am sure the AFC will support our view," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, as quoted by the Times of India.
The AFC had revealed in June that AIFF's slot allocations request will be discussed during its Kuala Lumpur meeting on July 25. Both the AFC and Fifa have reviewed and agreed AIFF's request to run both ISL and I-League simultaneously during the 2017/18 season.
Club licensing criteria
AFC would expect the participating clubs to follow the club licensing criteria, which will form the basis of how a club is run and administered. Several requirements, including attendance at matches, game operation, stadia and media regulations are to be strictly adhered by the affiliated clubs.
Meanwhile, the AIFF had also proposed a Super Cup, featuring top four teams from both leagues. The winner of the knockout competition will get the AFC Champions League berth, while the runner-up gets the AFC Cup slot, according to the proposed arrangement.
The AIFF reportedly revealed the I-League clubs were ready to push for the Super Cup during last month's AIFF meeting in New Delhi.