ISL creating buzz as the first-of-its-kind football league in India


Indian Super League (ISL)

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Indian Super League (ISL) – the first-of-its-kind football league in India co-promoted by IMG-Reliance (a joint venture of IMG and Reliance Industries) with support from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). To promote and broadcast the league in India and across the world, IMG-R has entered into a 10-year joint venture with Star India.

Set to kick-off in September this year, the ISL is expected to run along the lines of the extremely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. Media is also drawing a parallel between the ISL and the Major League Soccer (MLS) of the United States.

The ISL recently entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League (EPL), the world’s most popular and successful football league, to bring its best practices to India under an exchange programme.

Under the co-operation agreement, the EPL will allow the ISL to leverage the league’s expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition. The ISL will also receive strategic support, advice and assistance from the EPL to further the development of the league and its clubs.

The ISL in turn, will help the EPL stage football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India. This could encourage exchange programmes and partnership building between clubs in the two countries.

The 2014 season will be competed among eight franchises. The eight cities selected to host teams are Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Each team would have a squad of 22 players each which would contain 10 foreign players, 8 domestic Indian players, and 4 local Indian players.

The franchises and their owners were declared on April 13, 2014 through a bidding process. These are:

Atletico de Kolkata – owned and operated by former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh, and Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid.

Bangalore – owned and operated by Chennai-based Sun Group.

Goa – owned and operated by Mumbai-based Venugopal Dhoot as well as Goan businessmen Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas Dempo.

North East United FC – owned and operated by Bollywood actor John Abraham and I-League club, Shillong Lajong.

Kerala Blasters – owned by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Prasad V Potluri.

Mumbai – owned and operated by Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh.

Pune – owned and operated by Bollywood actor Salman Khan and the Wadhawan Group.

Delhi – owned and operated by Delhi-based DEN Networks.

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