AIFF

IWL to get a new format next season

Hero IWL could be restructured and may include more playing time for each club

IWL would be coming in an entirely different format for the next season. Newly-appointed head coach Thomas Dennerby wants no injury concerns before the AFC Asian Cup 2022. As a result, there won’t be IWL this season.

But, after some brilliant achievements by our Women’s team, restructuring of the Women’s league could be on the cards. Earlier in the 2019-20 season, there were only 12 clubs and each club could play at most seven matches.

However, as per the new rumoured format, the league might include 24 teams. Each team would be playing at least 18 matches. The more the playing time, the better would be our women’s football team!

Women’s football deserves more playing time as compared to the current IWL format

According to AIFF General secretary Kushal Das, the new format would be a 24-team league. Gokulam Kerala FC is the defending champions (2019-20) and would be becoming the first Indian women’s club to play in the inaugural AFC Asian Championship.

A bigger league would mean better preparation and more development of the young tigresses! Earlier, the IWL only lasted for just 19 days and the new format could be a game-changer.

Indian women’s team also failed to make it to the Olympics after drawing 3-3 to Myanmar in Round 3 of the qualifiers. However, they are performing well and are also playing adequate international friendlies too.

About Women’s football and the goals, Das said,

“The AIFF’s short-term goal for women’s football is to qualify for AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 as the qualifiers are scheduled to start next year. The long-term goal, at this moment, is to obtain a podium finish in Asian Games 2026.”

Rivals Japan have 20-team Nadeshiko league whereas all the other Asian rivals have just around 10 teams in their respective leagues. A 24-team league would make Indian women’s football reach greater heights as compared to their rivals if the idea becomes a reality!

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