Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the governing body of ISL, announced the 'League Winners Shield' for the team which finishes at the top of the league stages of the tournament. Currently, FC Goa and ATK are the only two sides who have a mathematical chance to clinch this title.
"The League Winners Shield, weighing approx. 5 kg with a diameter of 22 inches draws inspiration from global football traditions and design tones of the Hero ISL trophy. The wreath surrounding the silver football symbolises the victors of the beautiful game," read the ISL's media statement.
The Shield is accompanied by prize money of ₹50 lakhs which will be presented to the club at their semi-final home leg fixture.
The announcement comes at the day FC Goa face Jamshedpur FC in their final round fixture. The Gaurs need just a draw to win the shield and become the first Indian club to participate in the group stages of the AFC Champions League.
ATK was ahead for the contention but a loss to Chennaiyin FC in their last home game derailed their ambitions. Now, they must not only pray that FC Goa loses their match but also win the last league stage fixture against the defending champions Bengaluru FC.
ATK will be level on points with FC Goa but a superior head-to-head record will put them ahead on the race.
The Indian Super League follows the pattern of MSL and A-League with no relegation where the winner is decided by a separate playoff competition. However, incentives to club topping the league stages like giving them a slot at the continental competition and a trophy weren't present earlier.
But, with the Indian Super League gaining recognition from the Asian Football Confederation as the premier league of the country, they didn't hesitate to make the changes, although it came a bit late.