Aizawl FC said they will approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Asian Football Confederation president Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa if they are denied an opportunity to defend their I-League title next season.
The Mizo side also threatened to resort to ‘world-wide protests’ or fast unto death if the All India Football Federation (AIFF) relegates the club to the second division, as is being widely speculated.
The club made a formal application to the AIFF to continue being a part of the top division after news emerged that they would have no place in the restructured domestic tournament that AIFF and its commercial partners IMG-Reliance are planning to launch in November this year.
Aizawl FC Excluded from New Plan
In the new Indian Super League, the existing eight ISL clubs will be joined by at least three I-League clubs but newly-crowned champions Aizawl are not a part of the merger plans. Instead, the AIFF is in talks with Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. In a statement, the club said they had submitted a ‘formal claim to the AIFF to continue in the top league even after proposed merger of the existing top league with the ISL.’
‘If no positive response is received from AIFF, the club will approach central Sports Minister, Prime Minister of India and also president of AFC,’ the statement added.
The club added that in case those appeals also don’t work, they would resort to wide-ranging protests. ‘If all these steps fail, the club will have no other choice but will resort to world-wide protests, sitting demonstration near AFC/FIFA offices, picketing of AIFF office, mass hunger strike/fast unto death protest,’ the statement read.
A senior AIFF official admitted there are a lot of grey areas which need to be addressed. ‘Aizawl’s win has put the Federation in a tight spot. Things should be clearer after Saturday’s meeting. Till then, it’s tough to speculate what will happen,’ the official said.