All India Football Federation’s India Women’s League is around the corner. But a month before it begins, ISL and I-League teams have refused to participate in the tournament’s second edition. This has put AIFF in a spot as the organisation claims the two franchises had supported the league and promised participation.

“It’s extremely disappointing that despite assurances, we haven’t got any entry from either any ISL or I-League club,” said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das to PTI.

Das is hopeful that the two leagues would understand the significance of the sole women’s league of the country and reconsider their participation.

“AIFF is contemplating participation in the IWL as part of the AIFF Licensing criteria for teams to take up women’s football on a more serious note.”

IWL had earlier said that it would give the opportunity to a direct entry in ISL and I-league clubs to women footballers in the final round. But since both the leagues have pulled out, it dampens the excitement.

Cost a major factor

Cost has become one of the major factors for the major football clubs to back off from creating a separate women’s football team.

Das said, “AIFF is contemplating participation in the IWL as part of the AIFF Licensing criteria for teams to take up women’s football on a more serious note.”

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AIFF inaugurated the league in January 2017 in New Delhi with eight teams, including one ISL team FC Pune City participating in it.

Last year, Manipur’s Eastern Sporting Union won the first ever IWL. 2017 has also given special focus on women in football. However, taking up the game professionally is still a work in progress. Even after having legendary players like Bembem Devi, there are very few takers for women’s football in the country. That said, there is very little happening to promote the game. While IWL is a dream event for football-loving girls, if the authority does not enforce it with greater velocity, it is going to progress at a snail’s pace.

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