Better together: Why should ISL and I-league merge?

Moinak Banerjee

A brief look at the positives on why should Indian Super League and I-League should merge with the options of promotion, relegation and teams expansion that could unlock India’s football potential.

It is unquestionable that India is a sleeping giant in the sport of football. From its golden years of 1950s to the period of re-circulation now, the country has witness a steep rise in passion and endurance to make the beautiful game really beautiful.

This, according to most Indian football followers and pundits, is an effect of the newly drafted league in its fifth year which bought about a revolution throughout the map. The league is called the ‘Indian Super League’ or simply ‘ISL’, providing a glorified future of Indian football ahead.

Coexistence of the two leagues

Since its inception in 2014, ISL had been a standout system of operation in constructing the Indian national football team. Due to this league, the country now enjoys a steady way of team selection that wasn’t there previously.  The improvement in this scale is enormous considering India’s giant leap to 97th position from 171st in the current FIFA rankings in respect with the ISL players that makes up the squad in sustainable number.

In league wise, ISL has caught attention not only within the borders but overseas as well. Its first season saw some of the elusive names in world football participating in the league causing an enormous amount of attention from the cricket loving fans of India too as they crowded the stadium in search for wonders.

Not only that, young talents coming out from the club’s academy rank obtain this stage to prove their glimmering talent with foreign interaction and straight call up from the national team. This has also raised TV viewership and tremendous amount of fan following because it opened fan bases all over the country side by side developing young kids through grassroots programs.

Adding more teams to the rank

Altogether, ISL has been a romp in bringing people of different cultures together and lifting the football status of our country.

Although ISL knocked out most of the dissolution raging in Indian football, it still has some works to do. To reach for a high standard for Football in India’s quest to feature in the grandest stage of all, the World Cup, ISL must emphasis on adding more teams to the rank.

Previously, AIFF put down a regiment of pulling ISL and I league together as one national league of India. But talks broke upon in failure to establish a mutual consent between the divisions. However, the plan can be reshuffle. ISL could prove significant in this matter not because of its franchises but the way it is slowly creating the right material in manufacturing the best out of it.

Merger as a possible long-term solution:  20 team affiliated league system

Hence, a 20 team affiliated league system could help develop nation’s football in a disciplinary way.

Should ISL get a hug of 20 Indian clubs, it should have the choice of selecting the right clubs for its mission. Presently, there are eight franchises but no two clubs belongs to the same region. In I league, India’s another top flight setup, two or three clubs corresponding to play for a region and in case grow a football rivalry among one another. This results in a euphoric derby that increases the zeal of the players to give their all in front of the supporters. One of the most exciting and known example is the Kolkata derby that involves two old clubs in the nation, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal locking horns in a breath taking match up.

These monsters clash always involve drama, intensity, spectacles and of course goals. Most importantly this derby add pheromone in attracting viewers as both sets of fan laud their team with every support they have.

Hence, ISL may do a favor in bringing these two giants in the league to take the system on to a next level. Note that, ATK is also a side from Kolkata and have much success in the league. The winged lions won the inaugural title with another success a season after. Adding three clubs from the same region will be a boost to the fan bases and also a sense of growing popularity of Indian football as it will extract the best quality of it in these derbies.

Step forward

Secondly, talents from all over the country will be supplied in huge number. Exciting prospects from the highlands to the ravishing South would be beneficiary from this. But the most important part of the whole tale caters to the need of more competitiveness in the league.

Creating a 20 team setup will allow promotion and relegation procedure that will keep all the clubs active on the trot. This will provide a different mental look among players and coaches. No requirement of semi-finals and finals in this type. The second division should be also reformulate in an organize way. Also scheduling games in the weekend will keep players fit and focused to take opponents in a specified time.

In brief, a 20 team league structure in any country serve a defining status in the sport and for country like India this is a step forward to their far standing dreams.

 

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