The All India Football Federation’s League Committee met over video conferencing on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.
The meeting was chaired by Lalnghinglova Hmar, and attended by Committee Members Arif Ali, Caitanno Jose Fernandes, Dr Reginold Varghese, and Anirban Dutta. AIFF Vice President NA Haris, Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran and Deputy Secretary General Mr Satyanarayan M were present in the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Dr Prabhakaran said, “We have important agendas to discuss and decide upon regarding the new Third Division League, for which state FAs have nominated their respective teams. We have also received communications and requests from clubs and state FAs, which we need to consider before taking decisions.”
After a request came in from the clubs to increase the maximum number of players allowed in a squad in the I-League, the Committee decided to increase the same from 30 to 35. The Committee also felt it prudent to introduce a youth players’ quota, by dint of which, the clubs will have to sign eight U-22 players in their respective I-League squads.
The AIFF League Committee decided to maintain the status quo in terms of the number of foreigners a club can sign in the I-League. Just like the 2022-23 season, the clubs will be able to register six foreign players (including one player from an AFC Member Association) in their matchday squad (Starting XI + 10 substitutes). However, they can field only four foreigners (at least one of whom will have to be from an AFC Member Association), at any given point during a match.
The following clubs were nominated for the 3rd Division League by nine state FAs, which complied with the nomination criteria:
Chhattisgarh FA: RKM Football Academy, New Friends Club Dantewada
Football Delhi: Vatika FC, Garhwal Heroes FC
Goa FA: Dempo SC, Sporting Clube de Goa
Gujarat SFA: Baroda FA, ARA FC
Karnataka SFA: Sporting Club Bengaluru, Kickstart FC
Punjab FA: International Football Club Phagwara, Doaba United FC
Madhya Pradesh FA: Lake City FC
Rajasthan FA: Jaipur Elite FC
WIFA (Maharashtra): Millat FC
The League Committee entrusted the responsibility of defining the format of the 3rd Division League to the AIFF Secretariat.
Meanwhile, nominations received from 10 other states will be confirmed after following certain due diligence as instructed by the League Committee. The state FAs are: All Manipur FA, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu FA, Kerala FA, Pondicherry FA, Sikkim FA, Uttar Pradesh FA, Assam FA, FA of Odisha, Telangana FA and IFA (West Bengal).