It is a matter of time before ISL is turned into the top flight of India’s league structure. Last year, the then I-League champions Aizawl FC and other top-flight clubs were faced with the prospect of relegation to the second tier of a re-formed league pyramid, which would have had ISL at the top. Last season, ISL and I-League were held simultaneously and the top-flight was weakened by the departure of Bengaluru FC and most of its core Indian players to ISL. A 17-page report by a two-member panel appointed by FIFA and AFC has called for a unified league structure by next year and expansion of the top-flight to 16 teams by 2022-23. With ISL, the future top-flight, still a closed league and there being no sign to the end of the dual-league impasse, nomination for a second-tier award is no cause for celebration for the AIFF.
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