​In what can be termed as a historic decision, The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the top stakeholders of the ​All India Football Federation (AIFF) have finally come up with a roadmap for the benefit and future of Indian football.


AFC general secretary Dato' Windsor John held a meeting with AIFF president Praful Patel and general secretary Kushal Das. He has approved AIFF's proposal that will see ​I-League winners get an entry into the ​Indian Super League (ISL) by virtue of merit from the 2022-23 season without paying any participation fee.


​Goal reports that it has also been proposed that from the 2024-25 season, the ISL will not be a closed league anymore and that promotion and relegation system will be implemented. The number of clubs to be relegated or promoted is not yet confirmed.


Furthermore, from the 2024-25 season, the ISL and the AIFF's knockout cup winners will get AFC slots as I-League will officially become India's second division.


In the presentation made by the federation it was also confirmed that as per the agreement between AFC and AIFF, the continental body agreed for the winner for ISL to represent India in the AFC Champions League while the I-League champions will get the AFC Cup slot.




Furthermore, here are ​AFC 's detailed specific points for the roadmap of Indian football as posted on their official website:


  • In season 2019-20, the ISL will attain the status of premiere league competition in Indian football.

  • AFC will allow the winning ISL club to represent India in the AFC Champions League play-offs, and the I-League winner will get to play the AFC Cup play-off.

  • A pathway for two I-League clubs’ entry into the ISL by the end of the 2020-21 season, subject to the criteria being fulfilled.

  • In addition, starting with the 2022-23 season, the winner of I-League will stand a chance to be promoted to the ISL with no participation fee, basis fulfilling sporting merit and the national club licensing criteria to be set out by the AIFF. There will be no relegation in the ISL at this time.

  • In its recommendation for 2024-25, it is agreed to fully implement promotion and relegation into the top league, and abolition of two parallel leagues.