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Why I Didn’t Sign Aizawl FC’s Petition For Promotion To ISL

Saturday, 6 May 2017|Free Kick

If you think Leicester City’s triumph last season is the best football story in recent times, you have clearly missed out on Aizawl FC’s journey where the club from Mizoram defied all odds to claim the I-League title. 

For a team that got relegated last season and only got their second chance as AIFF looked to complete numbers after the Goan clubs backed out, to go on and beat the big names in Indian football; this got to be the most romantic story in Indian football.

While the achievement was brilliant and got people rejoicing, but moments after the celebration of the historic triumph of Aizawl FC as the Champions of India were complete, there was a sudden lull just as the thought of the possibility of not seeing them in the top division next season struck the mind.

The nation rallied behind the team from Mizoram, created an online petition to make AIFF and IMG-R aware that the nations want to see Aizawl FC in the top tier league. 

I also want to see Aizawl FC play in the top tier league but I didn’t sign the petition.

Khalid Jamil and his team deserve their entry into the top tier of football in India for the passion they have shown and for what they have achieved, but it is right for them to be selfish and not think about other I-League clubs?

Aizawl FC is still comparatively new, but other clubs have been, despite no real ratings, returns or clarity on the future, continued to spend money on the development of the game. Clubs like Shillong Lajong and DSK Shivajians have created benchmarks in grassroots football. Both these clubs have been tirelessly putting efforts to help create better future for the players. 

Even the other clubs have been investing heavily in the game and have carried their clubs for years on sheer passion. Lately, even the likes of Minerva Punjab FC and Chennai City FC have been doing some laudable work and share a great vision to help develop the game. Then why only Aizawl FC should make the cut? Why shouldn’t all clubs get their chance to prove their worth?

While it was heartening to see Aizawl FC getting India together and script an emphatic triumph, it isn’t pleasing to see them get a tad bit selfish here and just push for their entry. Why not push for all I-League clubs making it to the top tier? 

One of the banners at the Bengaluru FC vs Churchill Brothers match rightly read: “All I-League Clubs + ISL =Merger. 3 I-League Clubs + ISL = Murder.”

Why can’t the I-League teams too get together and push for entries of all the clubs together? Each of them has had their share of contribution to the game and would only be unfair to leave them out. Why this disunity among the I-league clubs where they only think about themselves?

In fact, it’s not Aizawl FC’s  fault; The trend has been there in I-League, clubs have never stood together for any cause. They always fend for themselves to be safe.

Even the likes of East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC (the flag bearers of I-league) aren’t concerned about the fate of the other clubs. They aren't concerned about what happens to I-League as long as they find themselves in the top league with their terms and conditions accepted.

Hypocrisy has reached even a level where East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have cited the example of Aizawl FC for their entry to ISL. If Aizawl FC can win the I-League with such a meagre budget, their request to AIFF/IMG-R, was to allow them in the top league as they are. But they were not at all concerned about the fate of Aizawl FC, despite the fact that they use them as an example.

But it’s high time, in the interest of the game, all clubs should come together and stand in unison and fight out the doldrums together. 

Don’t get us wrong. While we thoroughly support the entry of these clubs into the top tier, we believe each of the other I-League clubs too should be given their due for they might not have won this season, but have contributed a lot. And who knows, might better the Aizawl FC story in years to come.