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AIFF set to invite bids for clubs

Ahmedabad: For the second time in two years, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to invite bids for new clubs and entities to participate in the 2014-15 season of the I League.

“The invitation to tender sets out the details on how the bids are required to be submitted and can be obtained from AIFF Headquarters in the capital from May 6, 2014 onwards,” the AIFF said in a statement.

The pre-bid meeting, which is scheduled for May 15, becomes important because the AIFF initiative has come immediately after the announcement of the franchises of the Indian Super League (ISL) to be conducted by the marketing partners of the national body from September 18.

There is speculation in the football fraternity that the fate of the I League could be in danger and the cash-rich league could be merged with the ISL in near future. The owners of the five-time I- League champions Dempo have already bagged the franchise rights for Goa in the ISL.

Federation sources said though they expect bids to form teams from Jharkhand and Kerala, nothing so far has been finalised. The winning bidders shall be granted the right to own and operate a new football club for competing in the I-League from the 2014-15 season. They would also be granted an exemption from relegation for three seasons, as was the last time around. All bids must be submitted by June 2.