The winner of the Indian Super League (ISL 2019-20) will be awarded a berth in the AFC Cup playoffs this season, All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das confirmed to Sportstar on Friday.
As per Indian football’s new roadmap, the ISL League stage winner will get a direct entry in the AFC Champions League group stage, while the I-League’s winner will receive an AFC Cup slot.
Elaborating on the continental berth allocation, Das said, “The League winners of the ISL will get the AFC Champions League slot, while the I-League winner, for a period of three years as a special dispensation, get the AFC Cup slot. The third slot, also in the AFC Cup, would go to the ISL overall winners.”
FC Goa has already sealed the AFC Champions League berth by winning the ISL 2019-20 league stage. The side cruised to a 5-0 win over Jamshedpur FC to become the first ISL club to earn an AFC Champions League ticket. Goa, defending champion Bengaluru FC and two-time champion ATK have all earned their ISL 2019-20 playoff spots. Mumbai City FC, Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC are in a tussle for the final playoff spot.
Das clarified that in the event Goa also bags the ISL trophy, then the ISL League stage runner-up would be awarded the AFC Cup playoff berth.
Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan sits atop the I-League table with a healthy eight-point lead and a game in hand, and is the favourite to claim the AFC Cup berth.