A League of Its Own: Facts About the Indian Super League
The Indian Super League (ISL) in India is a men’s professional football league run by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and its commercial partners, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL). One of the most prominent Indian football leagues, the ISL, is also known as Hero Indian Super League for sponsorship reasons with Hero MotoCorp.
ISL India has 11 teams and runs from October to March every year. On 1 June 2020, ATK merged with Mohun Bagan Football Club’s football division to become ATK Mohun Bagan Football Club, and on 27 September 2020, East Bengal became the Indian soccer league’s 11th team when it joined as an expansion club.
Each squad plays against all the other teams in a round-robin format during the league stage of the competition. After the league stage, the team with the highest points is declared as the Premiers and receives a League Winners Shield and direct qualification for the playoffs along with the top four teams. The season then concludes with an ISL Final to crown the champions.
Since the league’s inaugural season, four clubs have been recognised as champions: ATK (3), Chennaiyin (2), Bengaluru (1) and Mumbai City (1). Since the 2019-20 campaign, both Goa and Mumbai City have won the League Winners Shield.
So, today we will discuss several remarkable facts about the ISL. Let’s get started.
3rd Highest Average Attendance in the World
India might be more famous for Cricket; however, that does not mean that football is of any lower interest. The ISL’s average attendance is now 27,090. The ISL has lower average attendance than only the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Spanish La Liga. Therefore, the ISL is now the world’s third-largest league. More significant than France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and China – countries with an established football history and culture.
International Players Limit
Unlike other football leagues across the world, the ISL limits how many foreign players may join the XI. Current regulations state that a team is limited to five overseas players at any given moment in a game. Each club can sign a maximum of 11 international players for the season, one of whom must be a marquee player.
The ISL has a more significant prize fund than any other domestic tournament in India, bar the IPL. The ISL’s prize money is considerably higher than India’s top football league, the I- League. The champions of the ISL will be rewarded with Rs 8 crore, while the runners-up will receive Rs 4 crore.
Player Draft and Auction
The player drafts in the ISL rely on the college draft system used in the United States. Two separate player drafts are available for domestic prospects and overseas players. Also, before the 2015 season, a player auction was held for ten India internationals who had not participated in the inaugural 2014 campaign. Moreover, international players from other leagues may also sign with ISL teams.
The winner of the ISL championship team automatically qualifies for the Asian club competitions – the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup. Years ago, league organisers said that both FIFA and the AFC intended to recognise the ISL and allow clubs to compete in the AFC Cup starting in 2019. In February 2020, Goa became the first ISL club to advance to the Champions League after winning the ISL Premiers in 2019–20.
The ISL has eight franchises located in the following cities: Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. India’s top industrialists and celebrities from sports and the Indian film industry have all put money into the league’s eight franchises based in these locations.
National Media Coverage
One of the league’s organisers in India, Star Sports, also acts as the official broadcaster for the ISL. In an attempt to reach 85 per cent of India’s television audience, Star Sports broadcasts the ISL on eight channels in five different languages. The ISL is also available to view live and on-demand through Hotstar, Star Sports’ online streaming service.
Despite its origins as a league featuring illustrious names at the end of their careers for a two-month event, the ISL clubs’ efforts have resulted in substantial-quality improvement over the last several years. The ISL can serve as a stepping stone for younger European and South American players in the future.
Furthermore, the league is said to be in great shape. The tournament has continental tournaments to participate in, and they take good care of their teams. All of these factors might entice any football player to join the league. We won’t be shocked if the ISL transforms into a tourney where players come, perform well, and eventually get picked up by teams in the more significant Western and Eastern leagues in Asia.