ISL has welcomed two new teams for next season. The new teams included in ISL are Jamshedpur and Bangalore. The league will have ten franchises now including the former eight franchises and the newly included Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur. IMG-Reliance (IMGR) officially announced Bengaluru as one of the two new sides while Steel giants Tata won the bidding for the Jamshedpur franchise.
But there is a concern for the Bengaluru FC team. As per the rule of ISL, the club will be forced to release their entire squad and rebuild from scratch. Chief coach Albert Roca is the only certain figure to remain. Currently, Bengaluru contains some of the biggest Indian names with the likes of national captain Sunil Chhetri, midfielders Eugeneson Lyngdoh and CK Vineeth, defender Sandesh Jhingan and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh. However, Bengaluru will be forced to release all of them as Bengaluru has their AFC Cup inter-zonal semifinal against North Korean team April 25 Sports Club. So, the entire team building process may leave them with very little time to prepare for the semifinal match.
ISL have introduced new rule for the foreign players, playing for different franchises. A team will only be allowed to include five foreign players instead of six in their starting XI. This is a move aimed at helping the Indian players’ cause. Also, as per the new rules, each club can sign up to 17 Indian players in the upcoming season instead of 14. It will open the door for new Indian players but it will be interesting to see if there are that many quality players available to fill each teams squad to the maximum allowable limit.
With the inclusion of two new teams, we are surely going to see some more matches and new rivalries. To add to that, the league in 2017–18 will be staged for a period of five months instead of three.
ISL would now be played in 10 cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Margao, Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Pune, Bengaluru and Tatanagar.
We hope that these new rules and new teams will make the Indian Super League much more interesting and in the long run produce some quality Indian players.