Indian Super League
Football, a sport originated in Britain over centuries is now a game adored worldwide. It has attained momentum all over the world including India. People play football enthusiastically and it has produced some extremely talented players. Oftentimes, this talent goes unnoticed as people do not get a platform to showcase it. Similar was the case in India, the game was well received and played enthusiastically by the people, but it was in 2013 that a proper and official tournament was launched which helped the talented players gain a stage. In 2014, the league had eight teams and the number grew to 11 over the years.
Format of the Tournament
The tournament lasts for three months I.e., from October to December but it has now been increased to six months which starts from October onwards and lasts till March. The tournament is divided into two, stages, the league stage and the final stage. The first stage, the league stage consists of each club playing against the other clubs two times. Round robin format is followed which basically implies that all contestants or teams play with all the other teams. Each team plays with the other teams twice, once at their home stadium and then away or the opposite teams’ home stadium. A hundred and fifteen games are played between the eleven teams. This system contradicts the elimination system in which the teams are eliminated as they lose a match. There are three points for a victory, one for a draw and zero for a loss, no negative points are awarded for loss. The teams are judged by their points and the highest scoring club is given the Indian Super League Winners Shield. This shield was introduced in the 2019-2020 season. Then the top four teams enter the second stage, i.e., the final stage of playoffs which is also subdivided into the semifinals and the league finals.
Currently, the competition includes a total of eleven teams. The teams are as follows: -
ATK MOHUN BAGAN- The team originated in 1889 in Kolkata, West Bengal. Originally an athletic club, it emerged as one of the most skilled football clubs in India. Their phenomenal performances have gained them two hundred and fifty-two trophies: their most remarkable victory is the one in 1911 in the IFA final after defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment.
BENGALURU FC – This Indian professional football club is relatively neoteric, formed in 2013. Their professional competitive football debut was in September 2013 at the I League. They triumphed in the 2018-2019 ISL finals by defeating Goa FC.
CHENNAIYIN FC- It was founded in 2014 which was also the inaugural season of the ISL. This professional football club has its base in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. They have won two seasons of ISL, 2015 and in 2017-2018. Abhishek Bachhan ,Vita Dani and M S Dhoni are the owners of this football club .
FC GOA- This was the first Indian football team to qualify for the AFC champions League, founded in Goa in 2014. In 2019 – 2020 they won the first ever ISL league winner shield.
HYDERABAD FC- This team was formed in 2019 as a replacement of Pune city which was disbanded after they were facing some financial and technical difficulties.
JAMSHEDPUR FC- This football club was originated in 2017 in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. Tata steel, an ancillary of Tata Group is the owner of this team.
KERELA BLASTERS FC- The club came into existence in 2014, the same year the ISL was inaugurated. It is based in the city of Kochi of Kerala.
MUMBAI CITY FC- Mumbai is the city of origin of this professional football club which too came into existence in 2014. The city football group owns about sixty five percent of the team while chartered accountant Bimal Pareekh and Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor own thirty five percent of it.
NORTH EAST UNITED FC- Although the club is based in Guwahati of Assam, it represents eight states Assam:, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram The Indian actor, John Abraham owns the team.
ODHISA FC- Odisha football club was founded in 2014 as Delhi Dynamos. In 2019, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Delhi Soccer Private Limited and the Odisha government and the team Delhi Dynamos was rebranded as Odisha football club.
SC EAST BENGAL- Sporting Club East Bengal is a football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal. It completed its century as it was founded in 1920.
India Super League has showcased the performance of many talented football players. Players are not only of the Indian origin but also from around the world. Some players who have shown incredible performance over the years are:-
ROY KRISHNA- This thirty three year old footballer is the captain of ATK Mohun Bagan and also plays as a striker. He was also titled the captain of Fiji football .team. He was the League champion and the top scorer of the 2019-2020 ISL season. He represented his skills when he scored a hat trick against Kerala FC which made ATK qualify for the final play off stage.
SUNIL CHHETRI- An Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker and a winger. He is the captain of Bengaluru FC and the Nation team of India. Sunil has received the most prestigious award of Padma Agree and Arjuna award of Football. Nicknamed “Captain Fantastic”, he is among the top players who have scored the most in international matches. To add to the list of his outstanding achievements he is titled the “Asian Icon” by the AFC.
There are a number of amazing football players apart from the ones mentioned above.
THE ISL- I LEAGUE CONFUSION
I League is a premium professional football tournament. It was formerly known as the National Football League. It was founded in 1996 and in 2007;it was renamed as I- League. It was first of its kind in India. Its execution is based on promotion and relaxation in contrast to ISL. There has been increasing confusion regarding the existence of two football leagues in a country which is not possible.
Both ISL and I League are recognized by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) but only I League stands recognized by (FIFA) as the only official Indian Football League. The ISL is a major championship which attracts football enthusiasts all over the world. Both are equally important for India and for football. ISL
was initially formed with the intention to promote and boost the I- League. In 2010 the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) entered into an agreement with the Reliance Industries and the International Management Group to launch ISL. The agreement was worth 700 crores and for a period of 15 years. FIFA has recommended that both ISL and I League should be merged, but there are a number of challenges being faced to carry this out. A major challenge is that although ISL is more glamorous as it involves more capital and is more famous. The I League though is older, it is barely broadcasted. In the near future, things would be worked out and both the leagues would merge.
It has been six years since the commencement of the India super League and its popularity is increasing readily. Social media has played an active role in the growing adoration of the game. The tournament’s popularity has also been increasing.