KOLKATA, March 2: At a time when many I-League clubs are unclear about their future, former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia says there would also be a �big question mark� over the future of the Indian Super League (ISL) unless it accommodates clubs which have �history, passion and fanbase�.
Bhutia also advocated introduction of a promotion-relegation system if the ISL wants to attract more eyeballs.
�For ISL also, it�s very important that clubs like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are there. It�s not just the future of I-League. The future of ISL is also in big doubt. There is a big question mark,� Bhutia told IANS in an interview.
Eight I-League clubs, including East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, recently wrote to All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel requesting a meeting to �seek answers� regarding the league�s future and complaining about �interference� of the apex body�s marketing partner Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) in the sport�s decision making.
The letter said the I-League teams also wish to discuss potential relegation to the second division in Indian football, with ISL �all set to be branded the top league of the country.�
�I think until and unless you have teams like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan and some other teams as well who are very passionate, and have the kind of fan following you don�t have in the top league, then the excitement does not really come in. So the ISL also benefits bringing clubs from I-League up. Because I-League clubs have history, passion and fan following,� said Bhutia, who had played for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. � IANS