Former Aston Villa and Portsmouth manager, John Gregory believes that an increase in the number of matches and multiple competitions from the 2022/23 season will bring Indian football in line with that of Europe.
Gregory went on to reiterate that the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) decision to extend the domestic calendar to nine months would not only benefit the players and the coaches, but even the club administrators and fans.
“For coaches, players and administrators having the season stretched out over nine months is a much better format. It will be tremendously exciting for everyone to be involved in a long-term project,” he said in an interview.
“As a coach or a player, I would be incredibly excited about playing the season spread across nine months. It will give you good recovery time after each game and with that should come better performances from your players and obviously more time for coaches to implement their ideas and philosophies on the training pitches.”
Gregory is no stranger to Indian football, having spent two and a half seasons as head coach of Chennaiyin FC – leading them to the 2017/18 Indian Super League (ISL) title. The 68-year-old was also named as the 2017/18 ISL Coach of the Year due to his exploits with the Machans, thereby becoming a fan favourite.
“The season now will be more in line with the type of season that certainly Europe experiences. I don’t doubt the future of football in India. I’ve seen it myself since 2017 grow and grow. The game has captured the imagination of the people incredibly well, particularly since the ISL was introduced and world-class players have come to the country and paraded their talents. The season expanding to nine months is a bold step,” the 68-year-old concluded.