Major loopholes in Indian Super League's quest to revolutionize football
The more famous of the two football leagues in India, Indian Super League (ISL) is almost midway through its fourth season. Celebrity team owners, wide media coverage, thousands of fans in the stadiums, several traveling away fans, renowned foreign players and managers have been the highlights of the ISL since its beginning in 2014.
Its glamour, money, and success have attracted a major portion of the youth in the country which has traditionally been dominated by cricket. In spite of all its blessings, there are some major loopholes in the ISL's quest to revolutionize Indian Football.
This slideshow unveils some major drawbacks in ISL, proposed solutions and the author's take on this matter.
#1 No Contribution to the development of more football clubs
The ISL and the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India, both led to a boom in the numbers of next-generation footballers in the country. Now the footballers in India can see their future in the sport. But one major question remains unanswered. How has ISL helped in the development of more Football Clubs in India?
Tottenham Hotspurs' Dele Alli is one of the most promising youngsters of English Football.
He has been Young Footballer of the Year for two consecutive years in England. Before becoming a Spurs' superstar, Alli was a player of a third tier football club MK Dons. Dele joined the youth system of MK Dons when he was aged 11 and broke into their first team five years later.
He was signed by Tottenham in 2015 for an initial fee of £5 million. But what would have happened if there had been no MK Dons? It is not only Tottenham who would have missed the talented youngster but it would have been a major loss to England and FA as well.
Some current English Premier League stars like Jamie Vardy, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, N'Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez once played their senior and youth football at second, third or even lower league football clubs in different countries.
These examples give us an idea about the importance of Local Football Clubs and Lower division football leagues in a country. A young football player needs a local football club that participates in a well-organized football league. The parents are reluctant to send young kids to distant football academies and clubs. This takes us to the root cause why football in India has not reached its full potential.
Some major Indian football clubs do take trials for their Junior and Senior teams but it is not sufficient. A two-hour football trial cannot tell how good and effective a football player can be for the team.
Some technically gifted participants might not be selected in the trials as they lack match experience. Quite often their talent is overlooked in an overcrowded short football trial. The numbers don't favor either. There are 10 ISL football clubs in a population of more than 1.3 billion people whereas only a city of London having a population of 8.7 million possesses more than 50 professional football clubs playing in various divisions of the FA.