HomeSportsFootballIndian Super League: Origin, Format, Clubs, Top Players, Winners- All Details
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Indian Super League: Origin, Format, Clubs, Top Players, Winners- All Details

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The Hero Indian Super League has captured the nation’s passion for the beautiful game. These leagues have emerged as the pulsating heartbeat of Indian football. The roar of the crowd, the clash of talented players, and the electrifying atmosphere that reverberates through the stadiums. Indian Super Leagues have not only revitalized the sport but also ignited a new era of dreams, ambition, and spectacle.

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From gripping rivalries to awe-inspiring goals, join us on a thrilling journey through the exhilarating world of the Indian Super League, where we will discuss its origin, format, top players, winners, impact on Indian football, vision, etc.


 Indian Super League ISL | KreedOn

India’s first nationwide football league was the National Football League which began in 1996. 10 years later, AIFF re-formatted the league into the I-League to popularize the sport. However, due to poor quality of football and poor marketing, the league was not that popular.

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In 2005, the AIFF signed a television and media contract with Zee Sports which made the channel the official broadcaster of the I-League. However, in 2010, the AIFF signed a 700-crore deal with Reliance Industries and the International Management Group. This gave Reliance-IMG the commercial right to form a new football league, amongst other rights.

In 2012, the I-League clubs were not happy with Reliance-IMG and that their commercial partners did not put much effort into popularizing the I-League. However, AIFF assured them that Relaince-IMG would improve their I-League and make it similar to USA’s Major League Soccer.

In June 2013, reports came out that Relaince-IMG was looking to start their own franchise-based football league that year. By August 2013, Relaince-IMG signed the number of players required to start their own football league, and it would receive backing from the AIFF. The ISL was officially launched on 21st October 2013 and was scheduled to begin in January 2014. However, a few days later, it was announced that the ISL would be postponed to September 2014.

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Clubs in ISL

Indian Super League: Origin, Format, Clubs, Top Players, Winners- KreedOn Details
Image Source- Times Now

After the ISL was officially launched, several big corporations and Bollywood stars expressed their interest in owning a franchise. The bidding for the ISL teams was made on March 3 2014, and in April 2014, the winning bids were announced. They were Bangalore, Kochi, Kolkata, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, and Pune.

The first team to be officially launched was Atletico de Kolkata on 21st May 2014. Eventually, the 8 teams announced were Atletico de Kolkata, Bangalore Titans, Delhi Dynamos, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City FC, North East United, and Pune City. However, on the 21st of August, the owners of the Bangalore Titans dropped out, and Chennai was given a franchise. The Chennai franchise was named Chennaiyin FC. Currently, there are 12 clubs in Indian Super League Tournament.

Club City
Bengaluru Bangalore, Karnataka
Chennaiyin Chennai, Tamil Nadu
East Bengal Kolkata, West Bengal
Goa Margao, Goa
Hyderabad Hyderabad, Telangana
Jamshedpur Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
Kerala Blasters Kochi, Kerala
Mohun Bagan SG Kolkata, West Bengal
Mumbai City Mumbai, Maharashtra
NorthEast United Guwahati, Assam
Odisha Bhubaneswar, Odisha
RoundGlass Punjab Mohali, Punjab

Season Clubs
2022–23 RoundGlass Punjab

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The Format of the ISL

Indian Super League Format | KreedOn
Image Source- Wikipedia

The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season runs from October to early March, featuring an intense double round-robin format with 20 matches for each club. With three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss, teams battle to secure their rank. The top-ranked club at the end of the regular season becomes the ISL Premiers, earning the coveted League Winners Shield.

The team with the most points is declared the Premiers, along with the runners-up, advance directly to the playoffs. The remaining best four teams compete in qualifying playoffs. Rankings are determined by points, followed by specific criteria in case of ties. To encourage domestic talent, the 3+1 rule was introduced, allowing a maximum of three foreign players and one player of Asian origin per club.

Indian Super League Final Host Venues

Rank Stadium City Capacity No. Year
1 Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Margao 19,000 5 2015, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
2 DY Patil Stadium Mumbai 55,000 1 2014
Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium Kochi 65,000 (reduced to 39,000 for ISL matches) 1 2016
Sree Kanteerava Stadium Bangalore 25,800 1 2018
Mumbai Football Arena Mumbai 18,000 1 2019

(Source- Wikipedia)

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Some of the Top Players in ISL over the years

Global Players

  • Bart Ogbeche
  • Roy Krishna
  • Greg Stewart
  • Hugo Boumous
  • Dimitrios Diamantakos
  • Stiven Mendoza
  • Borja Fernandez

Indian Players

Vision 2047

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has divided its long-term goal, known as ‘Vision 2047,’ into a series of six four-year strategic plans. The initial plan will span until 2025, during which significant changes are anticipated. Beginning with the 2026 Indian football season, the plan envisions the participation of 40 clubs across three leagues: the ISL with 14 clubs, the I-League with 14 clubs, and the I-League 2 with 12 clubs. Moreover, 60 clubs will participate in five zonal leagues with a minimum of 12 teams in each zone.

Pyramid (P) Tier (T) No of Teams (2026)
National level P-1 Indian Super League (T-1) 14 teams
I-League (T-2) 14 teams
I-League 2 (T-3) 12 teams
Zonal Level P-2 I-League 2 qualifier. (T-4) 5 Zonal champions.
Zonal Leagues. (T-5) 60 – teams (12 teams in 5 zones)
Zonal League Qualifier (T-6) Various SFA champions.
State level P-3 State football leaguesFirst Division Leagues (T-7) Minimum 10 teams
Second Division Leagues (T-8) Minimum 10 teams
State League Qualifier (T-9) Various Districts champions
Districts level P-4 Districts Division Leagues (T-10) Various teams

(Source- Wikipedia)

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ISL Winners List

Indian Super League: Origin, Format, Clubs, Top Players, Winners- KreedOn Details
Image Source- ISL
ISL season Champions Runners Up
2022-23 ATK Mohun Bagan Bengaluru FC
2021-22 Hyderabad FC Kerala Blasters
2020-21 Mumbai City FC ATK Mohun Bagan
2019-20 ATK Chennaiyin FC
2018-19 Bengaluru FC FC Goa
2017-18 Chennaiyin FC Bengaluru FC
2016 ATK Kerala Blasters
2015 Chennaiyin FC FC Goa
2014 ATK Kerala Blasters

Impact of the ISL on Indian football

The Indian Super League (ISL) has made a profound impact on Indian football, transforming the landscape of the sport. It has brought in a new level of professionalism, infrastructure, and international exposure. The ISL has attracted renowned players, coaches, and investors, raising the overall standard of competition.

The league’s success has inspired the development of young talent and increased grassroots participation. It has also revitalized fan engagement and created a football culture across the country. Additionally, the ISL’s influence has led to significant improvements in training facilities, coaching methodologies, and player pathways, bolstering the national team’s prospects on the international stage.

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Neelabhra roy
Neelabhra roy
Reading, Writing and indulging in sports activities have been Neel's passion since he was a child. He grew up playing various sports and knew that it was something he wanted to stay in touch with. After completing his graduation, he narrowed his focus on writing. In his leisure time, he likes to read books and chill with his dog.


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