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5 interesting facts about the Indian Super League

Sitam Chaki


The football fever is back upon us. Apart from following European leagues, Indian football fans can now tune in to domestic action with the Indian Super League (ISL) season 3 kicking off on October 3. Here are 5 interesting facts about the Indian Super League.

  1. 4th highest average attendance in the world


India might be more famous for another sport starting with the letter ‘c’. However, that does not mean that the interest in football is any lower.

Also Read: Indian Super League, the game begins

The average attendance for the Indian Super League in 2014 was 24,357. This figure actually went up to 27,111 in the 2015 season. Kerala Blasters (52,008) and Atletico de Kolkata (50,707) led the way.

In fact the average ISL attendance is lower only than the German Bundesliga, English Premier League and Spanish La Liga. It’s worth repeating: it is the fourth biggest league in the world. Bigger than France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and China – countries that have an established football tradition.

  1. Foreign players limit


Unlike other football leagues around the world, the Indian Super League has a restriction on the number of overseas players who can be fielded in the XI.

Also Read: India based ‘Slum soccer’ wins FIFA award

According to current rules, a team can have a maximum of 5 overseas players in their XI at any point in the game. Also, the team can sign a maximum of 11 overseas players for the season, one of whom must be a marquee player.

  1. Prize money

The Indian Super League has a prize money fund higher than any other domestic tournament in the country, bar the IPL. In fact, the ISL prize money far outweighs that of India’s domestic football league, I- League.

The ISL champions are entitled to a prize of Rs 8 crores, while the runners up will receive Rs 4 crores. Compare that to the measly Rs 1 crore I- League 2016 champions, Bengaluru FC, received earlier this year.

  1. Player draft and auction

The Indian Super League teams select their players by virtue of a player draft. This is based on the college draft system used in the United States.

There are two separate player drafts held, one for domestic players and one for overseas. Prior to the 2015 season, a player auction was held for 10 India internationals, who had not featured in the inaugural 2014 season.

The ISL teams are also allowed to sign international players from outside the draft.

  1. SRK to join the bandwagon?

shah-rukh-khanEarlier this month, news filtered in that Bollywood superstar, Shahrukh Khan was interested in acquiring centuries old club, Mohun Bagan AC.

While Bagan currently ply their trade in the I-League, there has been much talk recently of a merger between the I-League and the Indian Super League. The All India Football Federation (AIFF), is attempting to accomplish the same, within the next couple of seasons.

If that happens, Shahrukh, who already owns a cricket team in Kolkata, could become part of the ISL. This would be a shot in the arm for Bagan, who have been crippled due to lack of funds for the past couple of years.

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