Indian champions Aizawl FC threaten 'fast unto death' if relegated

Fans could starve themselves to death as a mark of protest should Aizawl FC be excluded from the Indian FA's (AIFF) new top flight, club owner Robert Royte has claimed.

Aizawl - the minnows from the state of Mizoram - completed a Leicester-style fairytale on Sunday by becoming the first side from the country's north east to be crowned champions of India's FIFA-recognised top division, the I-League.

The reigning Indian league champions, Aizawl FC, have threatened to go on hunger strike if they are denied an opportunity to defend their I-League title next season, with a club statement even threatening to "fast unto death" if they are not reinstated. Next season, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) along with marketing partners IMG-Reliance hope to launch a new unified league, which will have all eight existing franchises from the Indian Super League (ISL) and three I-League teams.But despite winning the I-League, Aizawl can not participate in the top-tier league as it does not have the financial muscle to compete in the ISL. A historic moment created by Aizawl FC did not last long as the flavor of the taste of success was short-lived when this club was not taken into consideration to be a part of the new merged league but instead dropped to the 2 division. It would be totally unfair and unacceptable to relegate the champions of the top league due to it.

Aizawl FC's unexpected win has thrown AIFF and IMG-R's league merger plans off tracks. However, he said, "Look, even if Aizawl FC do not play in the country's top league, it doesn't mean that the road ends for them", Das said. Because they find themselves in a freaky position where they might be relegated to the second division next season. The Goan football clubs were having a tiff with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and they boycotted the I-League.

"There will be big processions in Yangon, Myanmar, and in and around Federation Internationale de Football Association headquarters, even in Maryland, USA". But Aizawl recovered from the setback to dominate the game thereafter. "All of us in the team want to show our talent and the players too will be happy to play there", AFC skipper Alfred Jaryan told mid-day over the phone from Aizawl yesterday.

  • Angelo Rivera