Hyderabad FC, SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters FC have failed to meet the criteria for ICLS Premier 1 licensing. While the status of East Bengal and Hyderabad is yet to be confirmed, Kerala have been given a one-year exemption from the license.
The ICLS Premier 1 license is given out by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and All India Football Federation (AIFF). It allows clubs to participate in all AFC competitions, AIFF competitions and the ISL. There are five different aspects of clubs which are evaluated: sporting, personnel & administrative, legal, infrastructure and financial.
These fields are evaluated individually by the governing bodies so that the clubs can be run efficiently. They are evaluated on the basis of three sets of criteria: A, B and C. All clubs have to pass the A criteria. They will be given a fine if they fail to clear the B criteria, and no major repercussions are there for failing to clear C.
Other ISL franchises such as Jamshedpur FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC have already announced their competence with the standards and that they have been given the license for the 21/22 season. East Bengal and Hyderabad have also applied for clearance for this year, and the results of their appeal are yet to be heard.
Odisha failed to clear the licensing criteria last year, but have managed to do so this year and will compete in the new season with a legitimately earned license.