Indian Super League set to expand, invites new bids

Ganguly ISL chairperson Neeta Ambani Chennai owner Abhishek Bachchan and Mumbai owner Ranbir Kapoor

Ganguly ISL chairperson Neeta Ambani Chennai owner Abhishek Bachchan and Mumbai owner Ranbir Kapoor

That led to newly-crowned I-League champions Aizawl FC threatening to undergo "fast undo death" if they were not included in a merged top tier league.

The release said that all bidding parties will need to "fulfil the eligibility criteria" and other requirements including "the business model and plan to develop the sport at the grassroots level", though it had no specific clause about the franchise fee of Rs 15 crore, which has been cited in the past as a point of contention between the AIFF and Kolkata clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.

Giving a fillip to Kerala football fans' expectations, Indian Super League Football tournament will rope in Thiruvananthapuram team also, says reports. The Mizoram club will continue participating in the I-League, a competition that the AIFF has continued to maintain enjoys the highest status in Indian football.

"FSDL will be floating the tender through "Invitation To Bid" (ITB) to be available on working days starting 12th May 2017 to 24th May 2017". If you remember, we had picked up the bid documents when the ISL was first announced.

Should both, as expected, get the nod, the ISL will be expanded to 10 franchises from eight, even though the organizers said in a statement on Thursday that "one or three new winning bidders shall be enrolled and awarded the right to participate in the ISL".

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

The decision to invite bids will leave Mohun Bagan and East Bengal stranded.

The ISL is a city-based football league established in India in 2014 under the sanction of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

Over the past year, BFC officials have gone on record saying they will look to be part of whichever league offers them a route into the Asian Football Confederation tournaments.

City football giants Mohun Bagan on Friday shot letters to All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) General Secretary Dato Windsor John asking them to reserve two AFC slots for I-League clubs as has been the norm so far. "Bengaluru FC are willing to play in the ISL but only if the league gets recognition from AFC", said the source.

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