The tussle between Indian Super League and I-League for the status of the Indian top tier seems to be getting a solution as ISL has been made the top division and handed an AFC Champions League slot.
The move was revealed during a presentation of the roadmap for Indian football presented by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday.
The ISL winners starting from the upcoming 2019-20 season will now get an AFC Champions League (ACL) preliminary round berth while the I-League winners will get an AFC Cup play-off position, as reported earlier by FOX Sports Asia.
Also, two clubs from the longstanding I-League will be offered an entry into the ISL by end of the 2020-21 season.
The number of I-League teams in the ISL will swell further in the 2022-23 and 23-24 seasons when the winners of the I-League will earn promotion to the Indian Super League given they meet national club licensing criteria. Further, the promoted I-League clubs will not have to pay an entry fee to play in the ISL.
According to the roadmap, India will have one main league and one knockout cup tournament by the 2024-25 season while also a promotion and relegation system will be implemented between the Indian Super League and I-League.
I have just seen the outcome of the @theafcdotcom meeting in Kuala Lumpur……I feel it is a positive way forward and the right way forward. India needs as many clubs as possible. Also good to see winners of ISL league table now get Champions League spot 👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/nVzpuOI8V1
— Joe Morrison (@joefooty) October 14, 2019
The 2019-20 season of the Indian Super League is slated to begin on October 20 with Kerala Blasters facing former champions ATK in the opener at Kochi. The I-League, meanwhile, is slated to begin in November.