Super Cup can be unfair to I-League teams: Avram Grant

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Guwahati, Feb 24 (IANS) Indian Super League (ISL) franchise NorthEast United FC coach Avram Grant on Saturday echoed the sentiment of I-League clubs in having a level playing field for the upcoming Super Cup with the number of foreigners disparity.

The Super Cup will be a knockout competition with 16 teams. The top six teams of the I-League and the Indian Super League will get direct entry into the pre-quarterfinals, while the bottom-placed teams from both the leagues will competing in playoffs to fill the remaining four spots.

But while the ISL clubs can register eight foreigners with at least five allowed on the pitch, I-League teams can register six foreign players and allow five on the field of play at a given time.

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“It’s very strange that it (Super Cup) is after the league and I don’t think it’s a good idea. Also, if I may say, if you put the two leagues together, it’s not fair for the other league (I-League) because they have only six foreigners (as compared to eight in the ISL),” Grant was quoted as saying by goal.com.

“Everybody needs to have an equal chance. For a start, it is good, but from the next season, I would do it like it happens in any other country,” the former Chelsea manager added.

I-League leaders Neroca FC owner Naoba Thangjam told IANS over phone: “We have written to the AIFF to clear the air on the number of foreigners. It should be a level playing field.

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“ISL clubs are always favoured. They cannot have eight foreigners in the squad and we have only six. The sooner we get to know, the more time we get to prepare.”

Earlier, contenders Minerva Punjab FC and East Bengal also voiced their concern over the number of foreigners for both league teams going into the Super Cup.

The AIFF, it has been learnt is mulling having six foreigners for the competition but is yet to take a call.

The qualifiers for the inaugural edition of the Super Cup will be played between March 12 and March 31 while the final round will be held between March 31 to April 22. The venue will either be Cuttack or Kochi. A final decision on that is also pending.

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–IANS

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