Punjab FC emerged champions in the I-League 2022-23.
New Delhi: I-League champions RoundGlass Punjab FC’s promotion to the top-tier Indian Super League was on Thursday confirmed after the club secured the requisite licensing criteria from the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The Club Licensing Committee of the AIFF, which met via video conference on Thursday, granted Punjab FC the Premier 1 License which is required to play in the ISL.
Punjab FC emerged champions in the I-League 2022-23 and they will now feature in the ISL 2023-24. The club came into being after the RoundGlass Sports Pvt Ltd. completed acquisition of the erstwhile Minerva Punjab FC in April 2020 and rebranded it to RoundGlass Punjab FC.
“ICLS Premier 1 licenses were granted to Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan FC, FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters FC and Punjab FC,” the AIFF said in a statement.
“Punjab FC, on the basis of being the Hero I-League champions in the 2022-23 season, have been promoted to the 2023-24 ISL after securing the Premier 1 Licence,” it added.
The ISL clubs — NorthEast United FC, Hyderabad FC and East Bengal FC — failed to secure licenses due to multiple ‘A’ criteria failures. The Indian Club Licensing system is an annual process through which clubs get the mandatory license to participate in the national and AFC club competitions for each season.
Under the latest regulations, ISL clubs are required to apply for an ‘ICLS Premier 1’ licence, which would grant them participation in all AFC club competitions (subject to qualification on sporting merit) and the ISL.
The I-League clubs are required to apply for ‘ICLS Premier 2’ licence, which would grant them participation in the AFC Cup (subject to qualification on sporting merit) and the I-League. Twelve clubs had applied for Premier 1 License for the 2023-24 club licensing process.
Earlier the Asian Football Confederation, on a formal application from the AIFF, had exempted the participating clubs from fulfilling the youth teams criteria.
The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Girija Shanker Mungali, also approved a shortfall in spending over the “Club Development Plan of F10 Criteria” in the financial year 2021-22 due to the ongoing pandemic as clubs provided a declaration to spend the shortfall in the next three financial years.
The Committee will meet again to decide on the ‘Premier 2 License’ applications.