Football is very famous in India, but there are many people who are still unaware of the popularity of the sport in India. There are clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal FC, etc. that have represented India in many major competitions.
To increase the popularity of Indian football in National and international audience AIFF signed a new 15-year deal with Reliance Industries and International Management Group in 2010 which brought the idea of having an Indian League that can re-install the craze of the game into the hearts of Indian people and can be broadcasted all around the globe. Hence, the Indian Super League was introduced in 2013 and for sponsorship reasons, the professional league was named Hero Indian Super League.
The Hero Indian Super League
The first official tournament was played in the year of 2014. For the first three seasons, the Indian Super League did not get recognition from Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the governing body for sports in the Asian Continent. During the first three seasons total of eight teams participated in the competition. Like IPL, the teams are owned by the well-known personalities of the country like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor, etc.
The eight teams in ISL’s debut season were Atlético de Kolkata, Goa, Delhi Dynamos, Bangalore Titans, Mumbai City, Kerala Blasters, NorthEast United, and Pune City.
The inaugural season started in October 2014 and the final of ISL was played in December 2014. ATK and Kerala Blasters were the finalists of the inaugural season and Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) became the champions by defeating Kerala Blasters 1-0.
Recognition and Expansion
In July 2017, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) proposed that Asian Football Confederation give recognition to Indian Super League. The Asian Football Confederation accepted the proposal and the Indian Super League teams were allowed to play in the AFC cup, thus helping ISL gain more deserved recognition both domestically and globally.
With significantly greater recognition, ISL was able to expand to 10 teams. The teams at the start of ISL were as follows
- Atletico de Kolkata (ATK)
- Bengaluru FC
- Delhi Dynamo
- FC Goa
- Kerala Blasters
- Mumbai City FC
- Northeast United
- Chennaiyin FC
- Jamshedpur FC
Atletico de Kolkata (ATK)
Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) was established on 7th May 2014 and is one of the first teams formed under the Indian Super League and plays under the All India Football Federation. It represents Kolkata, West Bengal. Former Indian Cricket player and current BCCI chairman Sourav Ganguly is the owner of this team. Sanjoy Sen is the current head coach of the team. The official stadium of the team in Salt Lake stadium.
The Bengaluru FC football club was established on 20th July 2013. It is owned by the Mumbai based JSW Jindal group. They joined the Indian Super League in 2018-2019 and are the defending champions of the current Indian Super League. In 2013 and 2014, they played in the Hero I-League championship.
The club plays most of its matches at Shree Kanteerava stadium. The current head coach is Carle Cuadrat, the former coach of the Spanish Football team.
Delhi Dynamos (now known as ‘Odisha FC’)
Odisha FC, which was formerly known as Delhi Dynamo is a professional football club based in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. It plays in Indian Super League under the All India Football Federation. The club started playing in October 2014 with the inauguration of the Hero Indian Super League. The club was renamed from Delhi Dynamos to Odisha FC in August 2019 and shifted its base to Bhubaneshwar from Delhi.
The club is owned by a United States-based ship recycling company. The current head coach is Josep Gombau. The home stadium of the team is Kalinga stadium, Bhubaneshwar.
Goa Football Club or FC Goa was founded on 26th August 2014 and was established by Dattaraj Salgaonkar and Srinivas Dempo. The team is currently owned jointly by Virat Kohli, Akshay Tandon, and Jay Modi. Goa is the only state in India that declared Football as its official sport. Brazillian football player Zico was the team’s first head coach and the key players during the first three seasons were Brazilian defender Lucio and French winger Robert Pires. The home stadium for the team is Fatorda Stadium.
The team is owned by Former Indian Cricket team Captain Sachin Tendulkar. The team’s official name Kerala Blasters FC was unveiled on October 27th, 2014, which is based on the nickname of its owner Sachin Tendulkar (Master Blaster). The team’s first head coach was David James, the former England international goalkeeper. He was also a key player in the team. The home stadium for the team is Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC was established in August 2014 and is owned jointly by Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh, a chartered accountant by profession. Mumbai City FC played their home games at D Y Patil stadium. Initially, Peter Reid was the head coach and Freddie Ljungberg was the key player. The team changed their coach and key players and currently, Jorge Costa holds the position of the head coach and Diego Carlos and Amine Chermitti as key players.
NorthEast United FC
It is also known as NEUFC and is the first team that represents an entire region and not just a state or a city. It is based in Guwahati Assam. Bollywood actor John Abraham owns this team. NorthEast United FC represents eight states of India Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh. Joan Capdevilla is the Marquee player of the team. Currently, Eelco Schattorie is the head coach of the team. Federico Gallego, Borges and Ogbeche are currently the Marquee players of the team. The team plays their home matches at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.
It is a Chennai based Football club, which was also inaugurated in the year of 2014. The team is jointly owned by Abhishek Bachchan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Vita Dani. The head coach and the manager of Chennaiyin FC are England Midfielder, John Gregory. The home stadium for the team is Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.
Jamshedpur FC was established in the year 2017. It was established when the TATA group won the bid for expansion of the sport and has its own stadium. The official home stadium of the club is the JRD TATA Sports Complex. Steve Coppell is the head coach of the team.
Football Club Pune City, currently known as Hyderabad FC was also founded in 2014. The initial owners of the club were the Rajesh Wadhawan group along with Actor Arjun Kapoor. After the 2018-19 season, the club ran into a lot of financial and technical troubles and had to hand over the ownership of the club to Hyderabad based IT group owner Vijay Madduri and former Kerala Blasters CEO Vijay Tripuneni. The owner decided to shift the franchise to their home city Hyderabad and named it Hyderabad FC.
The club was established in August 2019 and now all the home matches of Hyderabad FC will be played in G. M. C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium
ISL Champions Over the Years:
2014: Atletico De Kolkata
2015: Chennaiyin FC
2016: Atletico De Kolkata
2017: Chennaiyin FC
2018: Bengaluru FC
So, this is all you want to know about the Hero Indian Super League.
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