LOOKING DEEPER INTO INDIA’S SUPER LEAGUE

In theory, the Indian Super League is set to rock Indian football to its core. With the introduction of a brand new revamped league with international players, new teams and an all-new look, the Indian football fans cannot wait for it to begin writes Ishan Raj.

Despite all the glitz of the ISL, there are reasons for some in the country to oppose it. I for one, am on the fence as I see both sides of the coin. There are countless ways in which the Super League could help Indian football flourish, but there are some definite negative consequences as well. In this article both sides will be looked at and explored more deeply, hopefully giving everyone a better idea about this Indian footballing explosion.

Since 1996, the premier footballing league in India was known as the I-League. This featured teams from across the country. The thirteen teams came from the south to the northeast of India, but none could ever really develop a good fan base, nor find the funds to actually make the league a compelling edge of your seat drama.

The Indian Super League presents an opportunity for just that. Indian football fans will get to see stars like Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Robert Pires and maybe even Ronaldinho. Along with the addition of countless other international players, or former international players the ISL is bound to compel the hoards of football hungry Indian supporters to arrive at the various stadiums throughout the country. Furthermore, the ISL is also giving the opportunity to Indian players to showcase their talent. Only running for two months might also be a virtue for the Indian Super League, because despite all the commotion, India remains a cricket mad nation and eventually the whole affair could run dry if stretched over a long time-frame.

Another intelligent move in a very EPL-esque manner is getting the financial backing to make this thing go the full way. On paper, everyone on the outside and most on the inside will look at it and only be able view exactly what it’s selling itself as. Majority of which is true. But despite that there are some very real problems lurking under the surface.

One would need a magnifying glass to locate the plot holes in the mercurial thriller that is the ISL. And to many some of the problems that the Indian people have with it would be completely irrational. For example, my city Bangalore has a team in the I-League known as Bengaluru FC.  The team was formed in and won the league in 2013, and the way the entire city got behind the team, was a sight to behold. The club now also has a youth academy, bringing young footballers from all walks of life into the game.

The problem people have is that Bengaluru FC brought so much to the game in India, something nobody thought anyone or anything could do, and with the emergence of what could be a new money making racket under the sport facade, it won’t even be about football anymore.

Make of all of this what you will, but the fact remains that one-way or another the ISL will bring football to the forefront of our great nation. And when it’s about football, then its always an exciting time.

ISHAN RAJ

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