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AIFF ‘no’ to clubs’ plea

New Delhi: The club-licensing appeals body of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Tuesday rejected the petitions of the four clubs, who were not granted licenses last month for failing to fulfil licensing criteria.

While three of the four clubs — United FC, Rangdajied United and Churchill Brothers — were part of the I League, the other outfit, Mohammedan Sporting, have recently been relegated to the second division. The four clubs, who have more than 100 players registered with them, however, would be allowed to play the second division, AIFF sources said.

The number of teams in the I-League now stands at 10 with a new club from one of the corporate houses in Chennai or Mumbai expected to join the fray for the 2014-15 season.

Since the franchise-based Indian Super League (ISL) starting September 20 is likely to go beyond the exclusive 10-week period, it would now be easier for the AIFF to draw up a league fixture which could finish between the last week of December and May.

The ISL organisers, who met the AIFF officials on Monday, reportedly said they could stop the tournament for a few days in October so that the Indian team players can go for international commitments. The decision to bar four clubs could also benefit the ISL, which has been struggling to rope in Indian players for their eight-team tournament for the past one year.