New Delhi: An IPL-style football league in the country will soon be a reality as the All India Football Federation on Wednesday granted a window for the tournament to be hosted by its commercial partners IMG-Reliance. "Yes, it will be like that only," said I-League CEO Sunando Dhar when asked if the tournament will be franchise-based like the IPL cricket tournament.
The decision to open a window for the tournament was taken at the AIFF's executive committee meeting here on Tuesday. "The committee besides approving the calendar for 2013/14 also granted a window for a new tournament to be hosted by IMG-R during the period," the AIFF said in a statement.
The AIFF and International Management Group (IMG) have been having serious talks about starting a franchise-based football league in the model of the highly successful Indian Premier League. AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had last year admitted that the federation was indeed planning to hold an IPL-style league.
Besides, it was decided in the meeting that India's international friendly against Palestine on February 6 will be played in Cochin. The match was earlier scheduled to be played in Guwahati but had to be shifted due to inappropriate ground condition.
It was also decided to form a task-force for future interaction with IMG-R on re-structuring of the I-League, development of properties and other issues. The U-20 I-League would be held in Jamshedpur at the facilities of the Tata Football Academy in association with the Jharkhand Football Association.
The 2nd division I-League would be held in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The U-20 I-League will kick off in the first week of March while the 2nd Division League will start after the Santosh Trophy gets over. A R Khaleel was made the chairman of the I-League Committee. He takes over from Sajjan Jindal with immediate effect.