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Country before ISL, says AIFF

New Delhi: The major part of the inaugural franchise-based Indian Super League (ISL), beginning in September, will have to be played without the national team players because of India’s international commitments, it was decided on Wednesday.

The executive committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which met here felt the national team’s commitments in the Asian Games and Fifa-approved dates for friendly matches cannot be compromised. They added that the franchises should be asked to continue without the leading India players.

While the 10-week ISL is supposed to start on September 18, the Asian Games is scheduled from September 19 to October 4. India are also expected to play several international friendly matches in October and November.

Sources said that one of the AIFF vice presidents, who is also a co-owner of a franchise, requested the federation to allow postponement of the ISL by at least one week. That may severely affect the calendar, including the I League, but the AIFF has agreed to look into the matter.

The federation has also decided to make it compulsory for the I League clubs to appoint technical directors (TD) who have Asian Football Confederation (AFC) A License degree. A TD without the required degree would not be allowed to sit at the reserve bench and enter the dressing room.

Though the rule can severely affect the chances of veteran coaches like Subhas Bhowmick, who has recently been appointed the technical director of Mohun Bagan, they could get the decision reversed by appealing to the AFC.

“Senior coaches without the A License can directly write to AFC. In case the AFC allows them to continue coaching in I League, we would automatically accept them back to the fold,” said an AIFF official.

The federation has also made it mandatory for all I League clubs to sign a marquee player among foreign recruits. The marquee footballer should have the experience of playing the final rounds of the World Cup or any official continental championship.

Other decisions

India plan to bid for Fifa Club World Cup in 2018 and 2019

Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri to be included in special technical committee for 2017 under-17 World Cup

The 2014-2015 I League will start from December 2014. Federation Cup in Jammu and Kashmir in May 2015

I-League Awards: Best player: Sunil Chetri (Bengaluru FC); Best goalkeeper: Karanjit Singh (Salgaocar), Best defender: John Johnson (Bengaluru FC); Best midfielder: Douhou Pierre (Pune FC), Best forward: Sunil Chetri (Bengaluru FC); Best referee: Pratap Singh, Best assistant referee: Sapan Kennedy.