The Premier Level Of Indian Football: The I-League




I-League

I-League

November 26, 2010: The I-League is the premier level of Indian club football. It runs along the lines of the leagues around the world. The body managing the I-League is the All India Football Federation (AIFF), whose current president is Mr. Praful Patel. The AIFF also organises other top level football competitions like the Durand Cup, the Santosh Trophy and the Federation Cup among others and also manages and controls the Indian national team. The AIFF was set up in 1937 and became affiliated to FIFA in 1948 after Indian independence.

The I-League was first organised in the season 2007-08 and it was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh. It was the follow-up to the National Football League which was being organised since the past 11 years annually. With the introduction of the I-League, football governance was made a separate corporate entity.

The I-League consists of two divisions, the 1st and the 2nd. The top teams at the end of the season in the 2nd division, are promoted to the 1st division and the last teams in the 1st division are relegated to the 2nd division.

The first match ever to be played in the I-league was between Dempo Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club which Dempo won with a 3 goal margin. A total of 18 matches were played in that season which saw Dempo emerge as Champions with Churchill Brothers finishing 2nd only on goal difference. The 2009-10 season, saw a total participation of 14 teams. Salgaocar SC, Pune FC, Viva Kerala and Shillong Lajong were promoted from the 2nd division to the 1st for this season.  This season was won by Dempo SC who gathered 54 points from 26 matches played and are strong contenders for this year’s championship also. The top goal scorer was Odafe Onyeka Okolie of Churchill Brothers who scored 17 goals throughout the competition.

In the 2010-11 season, which is going to be kicked off on 3rd December, 2010, a total of 14 teams will participate. They are:

  1. AIFF XI
  2. Air India
  3. Chirag United SC
  4. Churchill Brothers SC
  5. Dempo SC
  6. East Bengal Club
  7. HAL
  8. JCT FC
  9. Mohun Bagan AC
  10. Mumbai FC
  11. Pune FC
  12. ONGC FC
  13. Salgaocar SC
  14. Viva Kerala

The first match of the season will be played between Pune FC and football giants Mohun Bagan at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on 3rd December.

With football catching eyeballs in India due to the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the I-League is a great opportunity given to Indian teams to force an entry into world football and showcase the immense footballing talent that our country possesses.

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