Saturday, Sep 23, 2017 | Last Update : 12:27 AM IST
Praful Patel stressed on the 'legacy' of the 2 clubs, stating that they will be given a second chance to make an entry to ISL.
Kolkata: Although East Bengal and Mohun Bagan missed out on their Indian Super League (ISL) ticket this year, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel hinted, on Thursday, that the two Kolkata giants could be a part of the cash-rich league next season.
Patel stressed on the “legacy” that the two clubs have in Indian football, stating that they will be given a second chance to make an entry to ISL, after a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and state sports minister Arup Biswas.
The AIFF chief further went on to say that the upcoming season of Indian football will only serve bridge the gap between the I-League and the ISL clubs.
“Mohun Bagan and East Bengal hold India’s football legacy, they hold a great tradition. I have said it before that this is only a bridging year,” Patel told reporters after the meeting.
However, the AIFF chief revealed that a final decision on the matter is yet to be reached.
Both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal had the chance to enter the ISL from the 2017/18 season in itself. However, the clubs did not agree with the franchisee fee of Rs 15 crore, as negotiations broke down.
Contrary to the general perception in Indian football, Patel believes that the I-League is still the apex football league in the country, despite the fact that the ISL has gotten a crucial AFC Cup qualifying spot.
“I-League is still the No. 1 league and the most prestigious tournament of the country. The tournament will be of high level,” he said. “The season has been condensed from seven to five months because of the World Cup and as a consequence both the leagues will run simultaneously,” he concluded.