Indian Super League – India’s Premier Football Competition

Formerly known as National Football League, I-League was the premier football league in India. The league was India’s first-ever professional football league & it was every professional Indian footballer’s dream to play in the I-League. It all changed in 2017, as Indian Super League (ISL) became the joint premier football league in India. 

Hero Indian Super League was founded in 2013, with the goal of growing the sport of football in India and increasing its exposure in the country. The league began its inaugural season in October 2014 with eight teams. Like cricket’s premier T20 tournament, IPL, each season lasted just 3 months, from October to December, and matches were held daily. However, it all changed prior to the 2017–18 season. The league expanded to ten teams, expanded its schedule to six months, and earned recognition from the AFC.

Indian Super League teams do not use promotion and relegation, rather choosing to grow through expansion, similar to Major League Soccer in the United States. A total of 12 clubs have competed at some stage in the league’s short history. The ISL expanded for the first time prior to the ISL 2017–18 season, adding Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.  As of today, 10 clubs will compete in the ISL during the 2020–21 season.

Indian Super League winner prize money is ₹50 lakhs, which looks like a mere pocket change in comparison to the amount winners of the competition get, i.e. a whopping ₹8 Crore Rupees. Indian Super League table-toppers also receive a league winners shield. The silverware weighs approximately 5 kg with a diameter of 22 inches. 

The League has in total had 6 seasons thus far with the latest edition, Indian Super League 2019-20, being won by Atletico De Kolkata making them the team with most ISL trophies (3), followed by Chennaiyin FC with 2 and Bengaluru FC with 1. 

Today, every kid dreams to play in ISL. What started as a mere competition imitating the success of IPL has turned into a premier footballing tournament in India with hopes of building and progressing the footballing success in India.

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