Bengaluru FC picks up ISL bid documents

Bengaluru FC picks up ISL bid documents

"Our only concern is that I-League should continue to be the official league of the country and its victor should play in the Asian Champions League play-off while the Federation Cup winners should play in the AFC Cup, " Mitra added, suggesting that Bagan are not taking sides with ISL and want the old AFC qualifying structure to be followed, since the AIFF pointed that I-League will remain the official league of India.

"The AIFF wants to give one slot to ISL to play in the AFC Cup".

Indian Super League football promoters on Friday invited bids for upto three new teams to participate in its fourth season.

On Thursday, the ISL invited bids from interested parties to enroll and participate in the next edition. And unlike most I-League teams, they made it a point to tie down most of their key players, including their captain Sunil Chhetri to long-term contracts instead of simply loaning them back from ISL teams.

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BFC's impending exit will take a lot of sheen off the I-League and will weaken the case of remaining teams in the league, w.r.t AFC places. However, in a season where the FIFA Under-17 World Cup will conclude only in the last week of October, to follow that with an expanded ISL and then an I-League will be cutting it too fine.

The cities on offer are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram.

Bengaluru FC won the I-League in 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons while finishing second in 2014-15. The plan is to hold ISL with the participation of 11 teams including the three teams that win the auction.

Eight teams - Atletico de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters FC, NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC - now participate in the ISL. This is significant since recent reports have indicated that I-League clubs Bengaluru FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have been sounded out about the possibility of playing in the ISL, with both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan being encouraged to consider shifting base to Siliguri and Durgapur, respectively. "As per the meeting in Mumbai, I-League is the only official league so there's no need to change the existing system", Mohun Bagan general secretary Mitra said.

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