AIFF to invite fresh bids for I-League

Following Sporting Clube de Goa's decision to withdraw from the I-League in 2017, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to go for a fresh round of tendering for a right to field a team for the forthcoming season, slated to begin from January 7.

The AIFF took the decision after its evaluation committee met in Delhi on Wednesday. They evaluated the existing bids of Minerva Academy FC (Chandigarh), FC Bardez (Goa) and Chennai City FC (Chennai), who are all keen on being part of their maiden I-League campaign in 2017.

Sporting Clube announced their decision to withdraw from the forthcoming I-League season on Tuesday, and Salgaocar are already ineligible to compete in it. There are reports of five-time national champions Dempo, who won the second division title earlier this year, also mulling a pull-out, which as of now could leave the I-League without a single team from Goa.

AIFF secretary general Kushal Das recognised the contribution of Sporting Clube since their inception, and termed their pull-out from the next I-League "very unfortunate and sad."

Minerva were the runners-up of the second division behind Dempo, the only team they lost to. Bardez, meanwhile, have roped in Armando Colaco - the former coach of the Indian national team - as their head coach, and they will be competing in the Goan Professional League for the first time this season.

Chennai City FC - formed as Nethaji Sports Club in 1946 - are the Chennai League's first division champions from the 2014-15 season. They won all 11 of their league matches, scoring 62 goals and conceding just four.