One question which Indian football fans are asking themselves and is discussing at the moment is if promoted I-League side Aizawl FC should be given an exemption from relegation this summer and stay in the I-League for the 2016/17 season.
Aizawl FC finished eighth in their inaugural I-League season, one place above newly inducted DSK Shivajians FC, who like Bengaluru FC and Kalyani Bharat FC in the past have been exempted from relegation for their first three seasons of I-League participation as corporate teams
The first-ever Mizoram-based side to play top division football in India brought much-needed freshness into the league and finally made Aizawl a new I-League city and Mizoram a new I-League state, which the fans did enjoy as their Mizo heros playing across India came home for a league match and not just friendlies or charity matches.
But the rules were clear before the season started that except Bengaluru FC and DSK Shivajians FC, all other clubs including Aizawl FC could and would be relegated at the end of this I-League campaign. Last season, the I-League’s most successful side in Dempo SC had to go down and are currently fighting promotion from the Second Division League.
So should the same rules apply for Aizawl FC or not?
I think that besides looking at the hard facts above, there is an emotional side to the issue and with the I-League being only a nine team affair, expanding it by one more team in allowing Aizawl FC to play I-league despite their relegation would be a welcome step by the I-League and the AIFF.
But one also needs to think and consider that other teams from the past or those in the future will shout unfair, why for Aizawl FC and why not for us. I’d reply, it is for the good of Indian football and the spread of the I-League across India.
Lets see what the decision makers do on this issue…
What do you think? Should the AIFF make an exception and keep Aizawl FC in the I-League? Or should they follow the rules, which the national body and the league set before the season?
Write your comments below…