Indian football fans have been scratching their heads for a rather a long time over the current footballing scenario in India. There were major issues about the whole ISL and I-league debacle that needed to be sorted out. And the recent AFC and AIFF meet was supposed to bring out a clear enough solution from the whole issue.
The meeting has officially taken place but unfortunately, no clear outcome can be predicted from it. The AFC has given the AIFF four possible options to sort out the whole mess. And this is how the scenarios look.
1. Scenario 1: Don’t change anything
Under this condition, the AFC has advised the Indian Football Board not to change anything. This means that both the leagues will go on as they have been for the past two years. One after the other. First, the I-league will take place at the start of the year following which the ISL will be hosted during the second half.
But if the AIFF goes with this, then the winners of the ISL will not be able to take part in AFC competitions as the ISL will not get an official status from the AFC.
2. Scenario 2: Run both leagues parallelly
This means that both the leagues will have to be extended in their time span and will run simultaneously. The winners of the I-League will qualify for the AFC Champions League play-offs while the ISL champions will qualify for the AFC Cup playoffs.
3. Scenario 3: Run both leagues parallelly but with a play off
In this, both leagues will run at the same time and the winners of the respective leagues will face each other in a playoff. This would be done to determine which team gets to qualify for the AFC competitions.
4. Scenario 4: Merge both the leagues.
The last solution is to go with a merger of the both the leagues. But the AFC have made it clear that the merged league if it happens, will consist of 16 teams. This means the AIFF will not be able to pick and choose teams for the new league as per their liking.
The AIFF has always wanted to merge the two league and form a single league but now it looks as if that plan is no longer feasable. Because if they wish to go ahead with the merger then they will have to include every available team in the two leagues. So Scenario 3 looks like the only practical solution that is left for the AIFF.