The current I-League champions Chennai City FC is unlikely to feature in the proposed “one big league” of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) next season. CCFC, like the last two years’ champions Aizawl FC and Minerva FC will continue playing in the 2nd tier of Indian football. According to the I-League CEO Sunando Dhar, there will be no promotion or relegation.
Although a protest was launched by Aizawl and Minerva in the last two years, CCFC won’t be staging any kind of formal disagreement scheme, as the club is resigned to the fact that paying Rs 15 crore as entry fee for the tournament is beyond them. The Coimbatore-based team is quite content to play in the second division. CCFC coach Akbar Nawas was of the opinion that the team would play the top tier next season but according to the club owner Rohit Ramesh the club only demands clarity from AIFF on where they stand. If the team is asked to play in a unified league of 20 clubs, they are willing to participate; however, paying huge franchisee fees “is out of the question”. The owner also said that it is quite plausible for the ISL and I-League teams to co-exist.