The All India Football Federation and its marketing partners IMG-Reliance are considering of changing the format of the I-League, the Indian Professional Football League. Under consideration is a plan to move away from the European way of running a home-and-away league format and change it into a North American Major League Soccer format of two conferences with playoffs to determine the champions.
As per the ideas the I-League would be a 16 team affair with a Western and Eastern Conference. The only issue here would be that currently you have four teams in the East/Northeast in Kolkata (East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Prayag United, Pailan Arrows) and Shillong Lajong FC; while the rest of the clubs are situation in Goa, Maharashtra plus Chirag United Kerala and HAL from Bangalore.
The motive behind such a move isn't clear though the federation is selling the idea of a more vibrant and attractive league though a key element would be also to cut cost of running the I-League, which is growing each season due to the amount of travel involved.
The AIFF and IMG-Reliance are set to meet the I-League clubs tomorrow after those had sought a meeting with them following an own meeting earlier this month. Here the report: I-League clubs get together, seek meeting with AIFF/IMG-R . The AIFF and IMG-Reliance will present their plans and await feedback from the clubs.
One though has to question if the MLS format is the way forward for the I-League. Then I have major doubts if this is the best way to further develop the league, then the decision of winning leagues through playoffs is something which I wouldn't like, then a proper league should finish with the league table and not a one-off match. The whole exercise becomes a league-cum-cup competition.