AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The AIFF League Committee meeting was chaired online by Mr. Lalnghinglova Hmar on Friday, December 16, 2022.
Present in the meeting along with the Chairperson were AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Deputy Secretary General Mr. Sunando Dhar, Deputy Chairperson Mr. Santanu Puzari, and Committee Members Mr. M Satyanarayan, Mr. Amit Chaudhuri, Mr. KI Nizamuddin, Mr. Arif Ali, and Dr. Kiran Chowgule. Dr. Reginold Varghese and Mr. Kennedy Paul Singh Ahluwallia were given their leave of absence.
Dr. Prabhakaran said, “I’m sure going forward we’ll see much better reach and broadcast quality. We have had issues at certain venues and there are things that need to be improved. I’m sure next season we’ll have a much smoother run in every aspect. We are planning on renaming the I-League 2nd Division since it creates confusion with regards to the hierarchy between the ISL, I-League and the 2nd Division. We’re looking to have a robust league structure at the city, district, state and national level, so that even clubs from remote areas can aspire to climb up the ladder and compete at the top level.”
He further stated, “Women’s football is an essential part of our work. We want to give equal focus on every aspect of women’s football. A permanent league structure is to be established for the women’s league in India. It’s very important to add more quality and value to women’s football in India. We have to see how we can put a minimum salary system since female players aren’t paid much currently. Women footballers shouldn’t just have to depend on the IWL for match practice, but also have enough competitions all year round. At the youth level, we want to put a competitive structure for both boys and girls. Our committee is proactively looking into things to develop youth football. I’m sure we’ll keep on improving on a daily basis. We want to come up with a long-term strategy of at least 25 years, which will be announced on January 7.”
The Committee, in its first order of the day, recommended that a total of 15 teams should play in the Hero Indian Women’s League 2022-23 season, with 11 of the clubs coming through as the champions of their respective State Leagues, with four of the top teams from last season of the Hero IWL making up the rest of the numbers.
The 15 teams will be divided into groups, with the top teams from each group set to advance to the Super 6 Round, which will determine the champions.
The Committee also recommended that a total of two foreign players be allowed to all the teams in the Hero IWL (one of them being under the Asian Quota).
It was suggested by the Committee that the Hero IWL be scheduled in April 2023, due to the All India University and the Indian Women’s Team calendar. In order to avoid an overlap of tournaments, the Committee suggested the Hero Senior Women’s NFC be held around February-March, 2023.
The Committee recommended that the Hero 2nd Division League be known as the Hero I-League 2 henceforth.
States that have conducted their state leagues in 2021-22 (12) will nominate a club each for the Hero I-League 2, with six reserve teams of the Hero ISL clubs will also join them for the league. A pre-tournament qualifier will be held for the teams from states that have not conducted their leagues in 2021-22, from which the top two teams will gain entry into the Hero I-League 2, bringing the total number of clubs in the league to 20.
These 20 teams, the Committee suggested, would be divided into four groups of five teams each, and will play each other in a round robin home and away format. The winners of each of the four groups, along with the best second-placed team will play in the Final Round, which will be a single-leg, round robin format in May, 2023.