After FIFA World Cup 2018, football fans and pundits will then be eyeing on Champions League, Barclay’s Premier League or Bundesliga, but Indian football fans are benefitted with one more mega football event named as Indian Super League(ISL). ISL is now termed as third largest football league in the world. Its impressive to notice, how ISL garnered fan’s attention and enough interest in a short span of time but is it enough to change the fortunes of country’s footballer’s
When ISL was launched and a list of foreign players who would play was released, football gurus claimed it to be a “retirement plan” for the former players. Although it took a bit for them to get convinced that ISL was meant to give the players of all the continent a correct exposure. Most devotees of football in India also believed that the main objective of ISL is to help India qualify for World Cup 2026, which is still a bit far-fetched. No matter what the objective of ISL is, but it did provided the upcoming football talents a stage to get recognized nationwide. Fans are now aware of names like Helio Pinto, Rehenesh, Cavin Lobo besides Messi and Ronaldo.
With renowned names like actor John Abraham, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Ranbir Kapoor and MS Dhoni owning most of the teams, it did uplifted ISL to a notch higher. Although many of them are involved with ISL for their passion towards sports or may be for the expansion of their respective business, but it did benefitted to both owners and the players through monetary and exposure means.
In 1996, National Football League(NFL) was introduced in India with an aim to give a clear road to Indian Football and promote professional clubs. However NFL was soon replaced by I-League in 2007. The All India Football Federation signed a 15-year deal with Reliance and International Management Group (IMG) to launch a new league on the lines of IPL (Indian Premier League). IPL garnered enough success with a fact that it had world’s best hundred odd players playing for different franchises. Although ISL cannot afford Messi or Ronaldo or Neymar, so the option was to recruit sub-ordinates of these titans. Avid football fans recognize these players and they themselves got enough crowd through word of mouth.
Indeed, ISL has proved to be a revolution for the football trend in India but to beat the popularity what IPL has garnered in a span of 10 years is nearly impossible with only a span of 4 years.