With the emergence of Real Kashmir FC as the first I-League team from J&K, there has been an increase in the number of professional football clubs being formed in the union territory.
Before Real Kashmir FC, it was LoneStar Kashmir FC which had opened doors for J&K football in I-League by being the first J&K club to play in second division I League. After LoneStar, Real Kashmir FC came into existence and they went on to qualify for the main I-League by winning the second division.
As part of the process to include teams from all over India in the second division I-League, All India Football Federation (AIFF) has asked its state units to nominate teams. This year AIFF has asked J&K Football Association (JKFA) to nominate two teams from J&K for the second division I-League.
"The I-League Department of the AIFF has directed the JKFA to nominate two clubs of the J&K for the Second Division I-League," JKFA said in a statement. The Association has asked J&K based clubs to register their entries up to April 17.
"In this connection, JKFA invites entries from interested clubs of J&K who fulfil the licensing criteria laid down by All India Football Federation for their participation in the 2nd Div. I-League. The interested clubs are requested to confirm their entries up to April 17 in JKFA office," the statement reads.
JKFA is expecting four clubs to come forward and apply for the entry into the second division league. They are expecting LoneStar Kashmir FC, Kashmir Avengers and Hyderia Sports Club to apply from Kashmir province and Shaheen Sports from Jammu.
"We have now a number of professional clubs running in J&K. Out of them we are expecting only four to come forward for I-League nomination. Others have opted out this time owing to COVID 19 and other issues," a JKFA official said.
He said that in order to sort out the issue of nominating two clubs out of four they may hold qualifying competition for them.
"Normally, league toppers have to be nominated. But here we have league toppers such as J&K Bank which is not eligible for I-League. Previously Lone Star used to be the only club to apply and used to play in the league. This time to nominate only two clubs out of four interested clubs, we will hold inter club competition for them. The top two sides would be nominated by JKFA. They also have to fulfill other conditions laid down by AIFF," he said.