Sunando Dhar confident I-League will reap the benefits of Indian football's roadmap

Mudeet Arora
Dhar is optimistic of I-League benefiting from Indian football's roadmap
Dhar is optimistic of I-League benefiting from Indian football's roadmap / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Hero I-League CEO Sunando Dhar has no doubt that the Indian football roadmap agreed in 2019 will be successfully implemented by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

I-League clubs have written to the AFC and AIFF in order to seek clarity on the roadmap and whether the second-tier league's winners will gain promotion to the ISL, and Dhar says it will happen.

"Some of the I-League clubs have been planning, as and when promotion-relegation kicks off, how they would want to improve financially, structurally and professionally," Dhar told the Times of India.

He added, "The roadmap will help clubs develop. They have been looking forward to it. The roadmap will not just help the (Indian football) structure, but also help some of these clubs to have a more professional structure in place."

Speaking about how clubs are already progressing with ambition to play in the Indian Super League, Dhar stated, "AIFF is on track with the roadmap and I have not heard anything to the contrary. The roadmap is being followed.

"It was signed after discussions with not only AFC, FIFA, but also ISL and I-League clubs. In a footballing ecosystem, promotion and relegation is very important for the development of the clubs. They have their own ambtitions."

Pointing out the importance of second division clubs in making the plan successful, Dhar said, "The importance of the second division will go up and help provide constant supply to teams.

"There has been a lot of changes in the last 10 years. Teams have come from different corners. One of the first thing that we did when we sat down with FIFA for the strategic plan was to spread the game, take the game to different states and support state associations run their leagues.

"If the state leagues are strong, it means teams coming out of the state becomes more competitive in the second division. The classic example would be Rajasthan united. We need more teams to come in. We are in a good position structurally to do that.", he concluded.