All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Monday said Delhi could see two I-League teams within the upcoming season.
AIFF recently invited bids from non-I-League cities, including Delhi, Ranchi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, to require part within the 2020-21 season.
The previous season of the league saw 11 clubs, including AIFF’s developmental outfit Indian Arrows, participate within the competition.
However, reigning champions Mohun Bagan have merged with ATK and can play within the Indian Super League (ISL) from the upcoming season.
“Clubs from Delhi are going to be a reality soon in Hero I-league and there could also be two teams from Delhi. i’m personally looking into this aspect and little question Delhi football deserves an enormous focus being the capital city,” Patel said during a programme organised by Football Delhi to mark the 36th birthday of India captain Sunil Chhetri.
He also highlighted the progress the AIFF has remodeled the last decade while emphasising on the necessity to “professionalise the sport”.
“We have come an extended way. Globally FIFA now acknowledges that Indian football has got to be supported and strengthened for the game to grow within the region. FIFA and AFC have made it clear that football has got to be commercially viable and it’s to support the general ecosystem around it,” he said.
“That is why it’s important to professionalise the game . The Hero I-League was the primary step towards that. Now, the Hero ISL has taken it further and made more additions to Indian football,” Patel added.
Chhetri said he received the “best birthday gift” when Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju announced the formation of 5 zonal committees to hunt talent across the country.
“I am really honoured to possess my birthday celebrated as Delhi Football Day. it’s sort of a dream, once you start playing, you never dream that your birthday are going to be made so special and for that i’m really thankful to Football Delhi.
“Sports Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju making a commitment here to locate every football talent in India and if every talent is identified and nurtured well then half the matter of Indian football is solved. it’s the simplest birthday present I can invite ,” Chhetri said.
The skipper added that during a vast country like India finding talent isn’t a problem .