Aizawal FC, the India League champions, have threatened to go on a "fast unto death" if they won't be allowed to defend their title next season.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been wanting to merge the I-League and the cash-rich Indian Super League (ISL) for a while now. Which means that there will be a single premier club football league in the country, a prospect that should bode well for Indian football in the years to come.
However, if this change were to come in place from the next season itself, it would mean that Aizawl wouldn't get to defend their title. The reason for that is a rule which will allow only a few cash-rich clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Bengaluru FC to compete with the eight teams form ISL in the new league.
Fearing the worse, Aizawl put out a strong statement threatening action if their formal request to be included is not accepted.
If no positive response is received from AIFF, the club will approach central sports minister, prime minister of India and also president of AFC. If these steps are failed, the club will have no other choice but will resort to world-wide protests, sitting demonstration near AFC/Fifa offices, picketing of AIFF office, mass hunger strike/fast unto death protest.Aizawl said in a statement
Aizawl’s owner Robert Royte had said on Monday that he expected the AIFF to include them in the ISL and would not accept any other decision.
How can the reigning champions be relegated to second division? We will not accept it, no chance. We will be playing in the Asian competitions. How silly will it be if the India’s champions are playing in Asia but back home, they are not allowed to play in the main league?Robert Royte, Aizawl’s owner