The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and International Management Group (IMG) are having serious talks about starting a franchise based football league in the model of the highly successful Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das admitted that the federation is indeed planning to hold an IPL-style league but everything is at a very preliminary stage.
"Everything is at a discussion stage and nothing has been finalised as of now. But we do plan to hold an IPL style league," Das said after his meeting with IMG officials.
Interestingly, the idea of having a franchise-based league was mooted by a Kolkata based company Celebrity Management Group (CMG) under the aegis of Indian Football Association but AIFF didn't give a go-ahead.
However, the AIFF is now planning to do the same eight-team league with players' auction. Some of the aged retired stars like Fabio Cannavaro and some like Hernan Crespo are likely to play alongside top Indian players like Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Syed Rahim Nabi.
AIFF is planning to create a two-month window after the I-League finishes which will allow the top Indian players to participate in the league. However after a gruelling six-months of national league, it will certainly be questionable whether it is wise to allow the top Indian players participate considering that their jaded bodies would require much-needed rest.
Meanwhile, Das also informed that Syria, Jordan and Kenya have confirmed their participation but same couldn't be procured from Cameroon till now. The AIFF is also trying to get the Maldives national team players for the five team tournament.
There hasn't been a breakthrough as far as title sponsorship is concerned.
"Very soon, we would be able to rope in a title sponsor," Das concluded.