Minerva Punjab owner Ranjit Bajaj calls for change in ISL format
With yet another season of the ISL coming to a conclusion, the jinx of not winning the final at home remains. Bengaluru FC, after topping the regular league standings with 40 points from 18 games, could not win the league owing up to a loss at home in the final against Chennaiyin FC.
Another interesting fact regarding the finals of the cash-rich franchise tournament is, that no team who has topped the regular league standings have gone on to win the tournament. Things were no different in 2018 final in Bengaluru as the Blues let go a 1-0 lead to eventually lose 2-3 to Chennai in front of a packed crowd in Kanteerava Stadium.
Almost all National Leagues around the world follow the league format where the table toppers are crowned the Champions with the Major League Soccer (MLS), USA, being one of the many exceptions who follow the Play-off format. The I-League has been following the usual league format. Bengaluru FC have won the I-League twice in their four appearances.
Sportskeeda approached the owner of Minerva Punjab, about his opinion regarding the format of the Indian Super League. He said:
"For me, any league in the world should follow the usual league format and not the playoff format. The table toppers should always be the winners of the league. By implementing the Play-off system, the organizers are nothing but preferring one match result over a season-long consistency," he said
He also added, "Chennaiyin FC were eight points behind Bengaluru FC at second place, so it's fair as the difference is not much on the standings. But, if sides like FC Pune City or FC Goa, who just had 30 points on board and were down on third place or fourth place, went on to win the league, it would have been really undeserving and injustice to the table toppers."
He also stressed on the players complaining after the match in the post-match ceremony. He said,"See, after the match players like Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu talked of them being the real Champions as they topped the league. It was all going on inside their heads and they were extremely depressed."
Football experts and fans have also gone berserk on Twitter, calling out for a change in the format after Bengaluru had to let go of the title, even after topping the league. But as it stands, it may take a lot of time for the organizers of the ISL to think about changing the format given the immense corporatism behind the league.