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I-League: Prize Money & Subsidies Increase, Fed Cup To Be Back.

I-League Core Committee  met yesterday, i.e. 25th November, at Football House New, Delhi to take important decision for the upcoming I-League season. The 2015/16 Season of India's Premier Football League will start from January 9th and if rumours are to believed, it will be hosted by Aizawl FC at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Mualpui, Aizawl, against defending Champions, Mohun Bagan AC.

Important Decisions Taken at the meeting are:

1. Increase in Prize Money

Cash Prize for League Champions and Runners Up has been raised. Winners of the League will take home Rs. 1 Crore, which is a steep rise from Rs. 70 Lakhs that Mohun Bagan got after winning the league last year. Runner Up will get Rs. 60 Lakhs and the team finishing 3rd Will get Rs. 40 Lakhs. This time 4th positioned team will also get Cash Prize which will be not less than 25 Lakhs.

Also, teams would be awarded Rs. 50,000 for every match they win in Hero I-League.

2. Increase in Subsidies:

Core Committe has also decided to increase subsidies that is given to clubs participating in I-League. Travel subsidies have been increased from previous Rs. 40 Lakhs to Rs. 45 Lakhs. Match Day Subsidy that was Rs. 30,000 till last season has been raised to Rs. 1,00,000.

3. Formation of Marketing Committee:

It was also decided that a Marketing Committee will be formed with members from AIFF and I-League Clubs, who will make a tentative plan for better promotion of the League before its kick off.

4. No Marquee Rule:

The much contested Marquee Rule has been dropped by the committee after taking consultations from the clubs. As the league will only a five month affair, most of the clubs found it unreasonable to spend money on a marquee player.

5. New Broadcasters:

Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the Marketing Wing of AIFF has informed that they are in constant touch with broadcasters and assured to push for televising as many I-League matches, LIVE, as possible and final decision will be taken once the schedule is finalized.

6. Federation Cup is back?

Though not officially announced, but rumours are that Federation Cup may make a come back after being scrapped by AIFF last year, citing scheduling problems. It  might be held in May 2016 after I-League finished by April.

The format may be different than its previous editions. Top 8 teams from I-League will get to play in the Cup competition with 1st placed team plays home and away games with 8th placed team, 2nd Placed teams gets to play against 7th placed team and so on. This will be followed by semi finals and final.

The decision to organize Fed Cup may not be due to sudden love for the Cup Competition by the AIFF Officials. As per AFC Guidelines, for any Member Association to get a berth in AFC Competitions, the clubs should play at least 18 games in a season. With Pune FC and Bharat FC shutting down their Senior teams and withdrawal of Royal Wahingdoh FC from I-League, only 9 teams are left in the competition. This means that with current format, a club will get only 16 games, which is a violation of AFC Guidelines, and thus the revival of Fed Cup, which will ensure that a club get at least 18 games this season.

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