Dempo FC pulled out of the upcoming season of the I-League in protest against AIFF's proposed roadmap to restructure domestic football, dealing another blow to the league.
Earlier, Salgaocar FC and Sporting Club de Goa had pulled out of the league.
All the three Goan club owners - Shivanand Salgaocar, Shrinivas Dempo and Peter Vaz - had taken a united stand on 23rd June, 2016 to oppose the restructuring that makes Indian Super League(ISL) a top-tier league and relegates I-League to the second division or 'League One' as it will be called.
With the deadline for submitting the participation agreement ending today, Dempo wrote to the AIFF that they too have pulled out from the I-League.
In an official statement, the club said, "considering the high cost of fielding and maintaining a team in the I-League and the uncertainty regarding the reorganization of the competition, the Promoters of the Dempo Group of Companies and the Management of the Club have decided that it will not be worthwhile to make the considerable additional investment required to field a team in the I-League. Therefore, with great regret, we wish to inform you that we will not field a team in the forthcoming I-League (2016-17)."
It further added, "the decision does not, of course, preclude our option to re-enter the I-League or any new competition introduced by the AIFF / I-League in coming times."
The five-time champion Dempo's pull-out leaves the AIFF with a major headache as the I-League now has only seven clubs - East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, DSK Shivajians, Mumbai FC, Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC, who were reinstated after being relegated last season.