'Options of EB, Bagan taking part in ISL next year open'
Kolkata: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel hinted that options of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan taking part in the Indian Super League (ISL) in its next edition are still open.
Patel met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday at Nabanna to discuss the preparation for the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup that is going to start from October 6. It may be recalled that the issue to waive the franchise fee that amounts to Rs 15 crore had led to the deadlock over both the clubs' participation in the ISL.
When asked about the stalemate over the participation of both the clubs from the state in the ISL, he said: "East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are the most important clubs in the football legacy of the country. I had said it before that this is only a bridging year and no final decision has been taken yet. This is only to have I-League and ISL run parallely. "I must say that the football calendar of the country this year has got condensed due to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The seven-month schedule has got reduced to only that of five months this year and as a consequence, we have to go for the tournaments at the same time," he said, adding that I-League is the number one football tournament in the country and recognition to play in Asian Football Confederation championship is given to the club that becomes the champion in I-League.