Aizawl Football club (FC), the Newly-crowned I-League football champions, on 3 May 2017 threatened to go on a “fast unto death” if they are not allowed to play in the top-tier of domestic club structure next season. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is mulling restructuring of domestic football into three tiers from next season. Fearing that they will be consigned to the second tier for many years even after winning the I-League, Aizwal FC has written to the AIFF to allow them to remain in the top league in any scenario.
Aizawl FC, a hitherto little-known club from a remote corner of the country with a shoe-string budget, was crowned I-League champions on 30 April 2017 in one of the most remarkable achievements in Indian football history. As per reports, the restructured domestic tournament will be jointly launched by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial partners IMG-Reliance in November 2017. Under the new format, the existing eight Indian Super League (ISL) clubs are expected to be joined by at least three teams from the I-League, but Aizawl is currently not a part of the merger plans.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das in an interview to DNA hinted that the Mizoram-based club not being part of the new league. However, he said, “Look, even if Aizawl FC do not play in the country’s top league, it doesn’t mean that the road ends for them,” Das said. He said that they will be playing in the second division with a chance to grow their club there. Aizawl’s Secretary General Vanlalnghaka Chchawnchhek in an interview to ESPN said “The club has released their statement following Das comments as it seems that they are trying to downgrade the football club to the second division. We have to claim what we deserve”.