AIFF to bid for two new teams next season

Khaleel named I-League chairman; HASC exit.

The I-League will bid for two new teams for the 2012-13 season with the prospective buyers gaining direct promotion to the elite division without having to go through a qualifying process.

The decision was taken at the All India Football Federation Executive Committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday as two teams in the current league, Air India and ONGC, have failed to meet the AFC guidelines on becoming a separate corporate entity by the December 31 deadline and as a result will be relegated from the top tier.

“Air India and ONGC will be relegated at the end of the season as they failed to meet the AFC guidelines,” I-League CEO Sunanda

Dhar told Deccan Herald. “Bangalore’s HASC (Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club) will be dumped from the second division for the same reason.

“As per the current rules, the bottom two teams -- barring Pailan Arrows -- from first division will be relegated and the top two teams from the second division will gain promotion. However, we need to find replacements for ONGC and Air India.
“Therefore, we’ve decided to float tenders -- under Ernst and Young’s guidance -- during the first week of March.

Teams will be invited to send in their entries by the third week and a committee will decide on the two teams eligible to play in first division,” added Dhar.
‘Direct entry’

Asked whether the applicants have to compete in the second division --  the qualification tournament for gaining entry into the top tier -- Dhar said it won’t be necessary.

“The two chosen applicants from the bidding process will be allowed to compete directly in the first division. Also, for the moment, bidding is open to teams except from Kolkata and Goa.”

Currently, 14 teams compete in the I-League first division.

AIFF also named Karnataka State Football Association president A R Khaleel as the chairman of the I-League Committee. Khaleel takes over from Sajjan Jindal with immediate effect.

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