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Roadmap makes I-League season more competitive, says Climax Lawrence

Former India captain Climax Lawrence believes the 2022-23 season of the I-League will be a hugely attractive meeting as the ultimate champions will have the chance to qualify for the Indian Super League according to the criteria of the Indian Super League. AFC Approved Roadmap.

“I’m really excited about the prospects. It will certainly take Indian football to newer heights and raise hopes for the clubs in the years to come,” said Climax, currently a member of the AIFF Executive Committee and Technical Committee.

According to the Roadmap, the winners of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 I-League seasons will be eligible for promotion to the ISL at no entry fee, meeting the club’s licensing criteria.

“The Roadmap is absolutely perfect for moving Indian football forward. This was a much needed step for Indian Football to grow,” the former midfielder told AIFF.

Climax was an integral part of the Indian team from 2003 until he decided to hang up his shoes in the year 2012. The 2005 AIFF Player of the Year was a star player on the national football circuit, winning both the National Football League and the I- League several times while playing for Goa giants, Salgaocar FC and Dempo FC.

Climax said: “As a player, I feel like this move was a long wait and we would see more talent emerge through the I-League. The All India Football Federation and all other stakeholders of the game have done a great job with this bring about change in Indian football, it will add a lot of value from a commercial, marketing and exposure point of view.

“The I-League will be much more competitive this season as everyone will be fighting for that one spot at the top, which will give them the license to play the ISL. It will be very exciting to see what the clubs have to offer in terms of games and strategies,” said the former captain.

Climax feels that since the Roadmap is being followed, clubs in every state will give their best and fans can experience a lot of competition from the stands. “I would like to see more teams in the I-League. More teams, longer competition and better chances for a larger number of players,” he said.

“Everyone has wanted promotion to start in the I-League for a long time – the clubs, the state unions, the players, the fans – and now when it happens I’m sure clubs will get ready to put up a tough fight each … of their opponents.

“As a player, I played the NFL and then the I-League. I wanted to play in the ISL, but that couldn’t happen because I was retired at the time. And now that I know that clubs can qualify for the ISL, I’m very happy that players will finally get the chance to experience something new,” said Climax.

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