By Jaydeep Basu
New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The recently concluded Super Cup in Bhubaneswar was hardly a super show in the absence of seven I-League teams, but the tournament may return as the season opener (2019-2020) in September-October this year.
In the general council meeting of the Indian Super League (ISL) last month, the franchises have been handed out the calendar for the next two seasons indicating Super Cup as the opening tournament. No I-League club is officially aware of the development.
Introduced in 2018, the Super Cup is India’s only knock-out tournament which is played as the season closer involving both I-League clubs and ISL franchises. The format of the tournament is strictly based on the final standings of the two leagues.
When contacted, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said: “They (ISL) have only chalked out a provisional calendar. There is no reason to take it as the final roster.”
I-League clubs have called the Super Cup a meaningless affair which does not offer any prize money. The winners of Super Cup are also not given a berth in the Asian tournaments. The two spots in the AFC Cup and the Asian Champions League are reserved for the winners of ISL and I-League, respectively.
An I-League club official expressed surprise at the mention of Super Cup being the season opener. “Since the I-League clubs also play in the Super Cup, how can the dates could be changed drastically without having a discussion with them? Or they simply just don’t want the I-League clubs to be part of the Super Cup,” asked the official.
Playing the Super Cup in September-October could pose problems for the I-League clubs, especially Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, as it may clash with the local league schedule.
(Jaydeep Basu can be contacted at [email protected])