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The INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE (ISL) is a men's professional football league in India. The league is officially named the HERO INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE for sponsorship reasons. At the top of the Indian football league system, it is India's primary football competition. For the first three seasons, the league ran from October to early December, with a finals series determining the champion in mid-December. From the 2017–18 season the league will run for a longer duration from November to April.

The Indian Super League
Indian Super League
was founded in 2013, in an effort to make football a top sport in India
India
and to increase the level of Indian football worldwide. The league currently features ten teams from around India, with four of the top five cities by population represented in the league. Unlike other football leagues from around the world, the ISL is one of the few leagues to not use the promotion and relegation system but instead a franchise system along the lines of the Twenty20
Twenty20
cricket league, the Indian Premier League , Major League Soccer of the United States
United States
and Canada
Canada
, and the A-League
A-League
in Australia
Australia
.

Since the inaugural season , two teams have been crowned the champions of the Indian Super League. Atlético de Kolkata won the league twice in both 2014 and 2016 while Chennaiyin won in 2015.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Origins * 1.2 Foundations

* 2 Competition format * 3 Teams

* 4 Organization

* 4.1 Ownership * 4.2 Stadiums * 4.3 Sponsorship * 4.4 Trophy * 4.5 Media coverage

* 5 Team performances

* 5.1 Finals results * 5.2 Championships by team

* 6 Player records * 7 Criticisms * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links

HISTORY

ORIGINS

On 9 December 2010, the All India Football Federation signed a 15–year, 700–crore deal with Reliance Industries and the International Management Group of the United States
United States
(IMG-Reliance). The deal gave IMG-Reliance exclusive commercial rights to sponsorship, advertising, broadcasting, merchandising, video, franchising, and the right to create a new football league. This deal came after the AIFF ended their 10–year deal with Zee Sports five years early in October 2010.

On 25 April 2011, the first version of a franchise, Indian Premier League type football league was officially launched when the Indian Football Association of West Bengal
West Bengal
launched the Bengal Premier League Soccer . The first season was scheduled for 2012. This league was not connected with the AIFF or IMG-Reliance. All six franchises would be based within West Bengal. The league would have featured top players such as Fabio Cannavaro , Robbie Fowler , Hernán Crespo , and Robert Pirès , however, in February 2012, it was announced that the league would be postponed to an undecided date before finally disbanding officially in 2013 due to financial reasons.

In early 2012, the first rumours of an nationwide franchise–type football league, organized by IMG-Reliance, started arising after a conflict arose between the owners of the clubs in I-League
I-League
and the AIFF over lack of communication. The rumour was that IMG-Reliance had planned on reforming the I-League
I-League
along the lines of the IPL and Major League Soccer of the United States
United States
and Canada
Canada
. These rumours were confirmed to be true in 2013 when, despite the failure of the Bengal Premier League
Premier League
Soccer, the AIFF approved IMG-Reliance's proposal for another IPL-style league for 2014, including all of India.

Early hits towards the proposed league followed soon after, with owners of the I-League
I-League
clubs fully going against this idea. The owners formed an organization known as the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association and stated that they would go against loaning out their players to IMG-Reliance for the league and go against signing any players already signed by IMG-Reliance. However, in August 2013, it was reported that IMG-Reliance had already signed the required amount of Indian players needed.

FOUNDATIONS

Elano was part of the inaugural class of marquee players in the ISL.

The Indian Super League
Indian Super League
was officially launched on 21 October 2013 by IMG –Reliance , STAR Sports , and the AIFF . The league was announced to take place from January 2014 to March 2014. A few days later however, on 29 October 2013, it was announced that the ISL would be postponed to September 2014. Also in October, it was announced that former Manchester United and France
France
international Louis Saha had become the first marquee signing for the Indian Super League.

At first, it was announced that bidding for the eight Indian Super League teams would be complete before the end of 2013 and that there was already high interest from big corporates, Indian Premier League teams, Bollywood
Bollywood
stars, and other consortiums. However, due to the rescheduling of the league, the bidding was moved to 3 March 2014. It was also revealed around this time that not only would bidders need to comply with a financial requirement but they would also need to promote grassroots development plans for football within their area. Finally, in early April 2014, the winning bidders were announced. The selected cities/state in April 2014 were Bangalore
Bangalore
, Delhi
Delhi
, Goa
Goa
, Guwahati
Guwahati
, Kochi
Kochi
, Kolkata
Kolkata
, Mumbai
Mumbai
, and Pune
Pune
. Former India
India
cricket player Sachin Tendulkar , along with PVP Ventures , won the bidding for the Kochi
Kochi
franchise. Another former Indian cricket player, Sourav Ganguly , along with a group of Indian businessmen and La Liga
La Liga
side Atlético Madrid
Atlético Madrid
, won the bid for the Kolkata
Kolkata
franchise. Meanwhile, Bollywood
Bollywood
stars John Abraham , Ranbir Kapoor , and Salman Khan won the bid for the Guwahati, Mumbai, and Pune
Pune
franchises respectively. Bangalore
Bangalore
and Delhi
Delhi
were won by companies while Goa
Goa
was won by a partnership between Videocon , Dattaraj Salgaocar, and I-League
I-League
side, Dempo .

The first team to be launched officially was the Kolkata
Kolkata
franchise as Atlético de Kolkata on 7 May 2014. On 7 July 2014, the team announced the first head coach in league history, Antonio López Habas . The next day, Kolkata
Kolkata
also announced the first official marquee signing in the Indian Super League, UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League
winner Luis García .

Eventually, all eight teams were revealed as Atlético de Kolkata, Bangalore
Bangalore
Titans, Delhi
Delhi
Dynamos , Goa
Goa
, Kerala
Kerala
Blasters , Mumbai
Mumbai
City , NorthEast United and Pune
Pune
City . However, on 21 August 2014, it was announced that due to Bangalore's owners dropping out, Chennai would be given a franchise instead. The team was eventually named Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC
. At the same time, the original marquee players were Luis García , Elano , Alessandro Del Piero , Robert Pirès , David James , Fredrik Ljungberg , Joan Capdevila , and David Trezeguet
David Trezeguet
.

The inaugural season began on 12 October 2014 at the Salt Lake Stadium when Atlético de Kolkata defeated Mumbai
Mumbai
City , 3–0. The first goal was scored by Fikru Teferra . The inaugural final was held on 20 December 2014 with Atlético de Kolkata becoming champions after defeating Kerala
Kerala
Blasters 1–0 at the DY Patil Stadium
DY Patil Stadium
.

COMPETITION FORMAT

The Indian Super League
Indian Super League
regular season currently runs from November to March. The teams play in a single table during the regular season and each team will play each other twice, once at home and once away from home, to complete a fourteen-game season. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams in the table qualify for the semi finals. During the semi finals, the team that finished first during the regular season will take on the team that finished fourth, while the other fixture features the second and third placed teams.

During the semi finals, the first round is played in a two-legged format with both teams playing each other at their home venues. At the end of the two matches, the team which leads on aggregate moves on to the final. The final is a single-leg match which takes place in a neutral venue. If scores are tied on aggregate in the first round or in the final, 30 minutes of extra time would be used to determine the winner and finally, if still tied, penalties.

TEAMS

Atlético de Kolkata Bengaluru FC Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC
FC Goa
Goa
Jamshedpur FC Mumbai
Mumbai
City Pune
Pune
City NorthEast United Delhi
Delhi
Dynamos Kerala
Kerala
Blasters Locations of the ISL teams

For the 2017–18 season , the Indian Super League
Indian Super League
will consist of ten teams from nine different states in India
India
. Prior to the 2017–18 season, the league expanded for the first time with both Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC joining the league. Unlike other football leagues, the ISL does not use promotion and relegation . Currently, the league only features two main derbies which include the Southern derby between Chennaiyin and the Kerala
Kerala
Blasters , and the Maharashtra derby between Mumbai
Mumbai
City and Pune
Pune
City .

As of the 2016 season, each team can have a maximum of twenty-five players on their roster and a minimum of twenty-two. A maximum of eleven players can be foreign with a minimum requirement of eight per team. Each team must also sign at least one marquee player who must be league approved. The rest of the players must be domestic Indian players, two of which must be developmental under-23 players.

TEAM CITY STADIUM JOINED HEAD COACH

ATLéTICO DE KOLKATA Kolkata
Kolkata
, West Bengal
West Bengal
Rabindra Sarobar Stadium 2014 Teddy Sheringham
Teddy Sheringham

BENGALURU FC Bangalore
Bangalore
, Karnataka
Karnataka
Sree Kanteerava Stadium 2017 Albert Roca

CHENNAIYIN FC Chennai
Chennai
, Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Chennai) 2014 John Gregory

DELHI DYNAMOS FC Delhi
Delhi
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi) 2014 Miguel Ángel Portugal

FC GOA Margao , Goa
Goa
Fatorda Stadium
Fatorda Stadium
2014 Sergio Lobera

JAMSHEDPUR FC Jamshedpur , Jharkhand TBA 2017 Steve Coppell

KERALA BLASTERS FC Kochi
Kochi
, Kerala
Kerala
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Kochi) 2014 Rene Meulensteen

MUMBAI CITY FC Mumbai
Mumbai
, Maharashtra Mumbai
Mumbai
Football Arena 2014 Alexandre Guimarães

NORTHEAST UNITED FC Guwahati
Guwahati
, Assam
Assam
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium 2014 João Carlos Pires de Deus

FC PUNE CITY Pune
Pune
, Maharashtra Balewadi Stadium 2014 Antonio López Habas

ORGANIZATION

OWNERSHIP

Just like the Indian Premier League , the Indian Super League
Indian Super League
has a similar ownership model in which the teams are owned by prominent businessmen, as well as celebrity owners from bollywood and cricket . The Indian Super League
Indian Super League
owners act as the league's "League Partners". British professional services group, Ernst "> The Salt Lake Stadium hosted the first ever ISL match in October 2014. See also: List of Indian Super League
Indian Super League
stadiums

During the league's inaugural season, a variety of stadiums were used. Two of the stadiums, the DY Patil Stadium
DY Patil Stadium
in Mumbai
Mumbai
and the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi
Kochi
, are mainly used as cricket stadiums. Three other stadiums are athletic stadiums which are primarily used to host football matches in the I-League
I-League
: the Fatorda Stadium in Goa
Goa
, the Salt Lake Stadium
Salt Lake Stadium
in Kolkata
Kolkata
, and the Balewadi Stadium in Pune
Pune
. Three other venues were used which don't primarily host top-tier professional football: the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Assam
Assam
, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai
Chennai
, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi
Delhi
.

SPONSORSHIP

On 18 July 2014, it was announced that Hero MotoCorp
Hero MotoCorp
would be the first title sponsor of the Indian Super League. The deal is scheduled to last for three-years from 2014 to 2016. Then, on 30 September 2014, a week before the first season , it was announced that German sports manufacture, Puma SE , would be the official ball supplier of the Indian Super League. The company provides balls for matches and training sessions.

The league relies heavily on a central sponsorship pool. League stakeholders, STAR Sports and IMG–Reliance, manage the central sponsorship pool and market the league to potential investors and sponsors. Twenty percent of the money gained in the central sponsorship pool goes towards organizing the league while the rest is divided among the teams. Despite successfully gaining a lot of money through central sponsorship in 2014, 100% of the revenues were used by the league to improve infrastructure and facilities, which meant that the teams gained nothing from the first season. The next season saw that change, however, with the central sponsorship pool doubling to around 100 crore due to new league–wide sponsorships with corporates such as Flipkart and DHL Express . Teams were also able to increase their intake in sponsorships in 2015 with shirt sponsorship deals worth double from the previous season and around nine advertisements allowed on team kits. Teams in the league have also signed shirt manufacturing sponsorship deals with companies such as Adidas
Adidas
and Puma .

TROPHY

The Indian Super League
Indian Super League
trophy was unveiled on 5 October 2014, by Nita Ambani , the founder and chairperson of Football Sports Development . At the trophy unveiling occasion, Mrs. Ambani said, "It's a momentous day for all of us today as I stand along with the world's footballing legends to unveil the pride of Indian Super League. As these role models have inspired hundreds of thousands of players worldwide, I am sure the ISL trophy will also stand as a symbol of aspiration for many youngsters in an emergent India".

Designed by Frazer and Haws, the trophy stands 26 inches tall. The logo on the top band has the ISL colours assigned to it and the handles are ornately carved and embellished with 24 carats gold gilt to imbue a sense of pride, when held up.

MEDIA COVERAGE

With STAR Sports being one of the organizers of the Indian Super League, they also serve as the official broadcasters of the league in India. The goal of STAR Sports for the league was to "use its superior content creation, packaging and presentation expertise to attract and retain viewer interest." In September 2014 it was announced that STAR Sports would broadcast the ISL through eight channels in five different languages in an attempt to reach 85% of the Indian television audience, the first of its kind in Indian sporting history.

The first match of the Indian Super League, between Atlético de Kolkata
Kolkata
and Mumbai
Mumbai
City on 12 October 2014, reportedly drew a television audience of 75 million people. The first week reportedly drew 170 million people in total. These numbers were 12 times more than what India
India
drew for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
2014 FIFA World Cup
and around 20-30 times more than what the I-League
I-League
, India's other top-tier football league, drew on TEN Action and even the Premier League
Premier League
. Overall, at the end of the first season, it was reported that the ISL drew a total of 429 million viewers across India, just a bit lower than the Pro Kabaddi League , and two and a half times more than the FIFA World Cup. It was also reported that 57% of the viewers were women and children and that the STAR Sports website gained 32 million visits during the tournament.

TEAM PERFORMANCES

FINALS RESULTS

SEASON DATE WINNER SCORE RUNNERS–UP VENUE ATTENDANCE HERO OF THE LEAGUE SEMI-FINALISTS

2014 20 December Atlético de Kolkata 1–0 Kerala
Kerala
Blasters DY Patil Stadium
DY Patil Stadium
36,484 Iain Hume Chennaiyin , Goa
Goa

2015 20 December Chennaiyin 3–2 Goa
Goa
Fatorda Stadium
Fatorda Stadium
18,477 Stiven Mendoza Atlético de Kolkata , Delhi
Delhi
Dynamos

2016 18 December Atlético de Kolkata 1–1 (4–3 pen) Kerala
Kerala
Blasters Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium 54,146 Florent Malouda Delhi
Delhi
Dynamos , Mumbai
Mumbai
City

CHAMPIONSHIPS BY TEAM

CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM Years

Championships

2 Atlético de Kolkata 2014, 2016

1 Chennaiyin 2015

PLAYER RECORDS

See also: Indian Super League Golden Boot

Statistics below are for all-time leaders. BOLD indicates active ISL players and their current clubs.

All statistics are based on the first two seasons only.

MOST APPEARANCES RANK PLAYER YEARS APPEARANCES

1 IAIN HUME 2014– 46

2 SANDESH JHINGAN 2014– 41

3 Mehtab Hossain 2014– 38

4 GRéGORY ARNOLIN 2014– 31

5 CéDRIC HENGBART 2014– 30

BORJA FERNáNDEZ 2014– 30

6 Gustavo Marmentini 2014–2015 29

7 ARNAB MONDAL 2014– 28

BERNARD MENDY 2014– 28

HANS MULDER 2014– 28

TOP GOALSCORERS RANK PLAYER YEARS GOALS

1 IAIN HUME 2014– 23

2 Stiven Mendoza 2014–2015 17

3 Elano 2014–2015 12

4 JEJE LALPEKHLUA 2014– 10

MARCELINHO 2016– 10

5 Gustavo Marmentini 2014–2015 8

6 BRUNO PELISSARI 2014– 7

DUDU OMAGBEMI 2014– 7

REINALDO 2015– 7

SUNIL CHHETRI 2015– 7

CRITICISMS

Due to the format, the league has taken plenty of criticism, especially leading into its first season. I-League
I-League
club Churchill Brothers argued that the league would do more harm to football in India
India
than good. Their main criticism was with the length of the league: "How do you even call it a league? You need at least six months to term yourself a league". Other critics have also questioned that the league might succeed in bringing spectators to the stadiums and increasing the amount of money the organizers have but will the league actually improve the quality of Indian football? Unlike football leagues around the world, the Indian Super League
Indian Super League
season lasts from October to December, which is two-to-three months. In July 2015, India
India
national team head coach, Stephen Constantine
Stephen Constantine
, had added to the disapproval of the league length and also called for there to be just one top league for football as currently the ISL shares the top spot with the I-League
I-League
.

The All India Football Federation director, Gautam Kar, has hit out at these criticisms, saying that the league will answer the critics in due time.

SEE ALSO

* Association football portal * Football in India
India
portal

* All India Football Federation * I-League
I-League
* National Football League * Indian Super League attendance

REFERENCES

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I-League
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Premier League
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India
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Indian Super League
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Kolkata
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Kolkata
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Mumbai
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Kolkata
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Kerala
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Abhishek Bachchan
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EXTERNAL LINKS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE .

* Official website

.