Before the inception of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014, the foreign players who came to India were mostly players who didn't have a professional background in the past. Most clubs believed that it would be tough for them to acclimatize to the Indian climactic conditions.
But, Bengaluru FC shattered this myth by taking a different approach. Speaking at a webinar organized by Naval Tata Hockey Academy, Odisha, Bengaluru FC CEO Mandar Tamhane said:
"When we started in 2013, we saw that the main foreign players were those who were moving from one club to another. Odafa came from Bangladesh for 2.5 thousand USD and by the time he retired, he went out on 25000 USD. Obviously, he was one of the best foreigners to play in India," said Tamhane.
"But, if I am paying 25000 USD a month for a foreigner, and I look somewhere else in the market, I am pretty sure that I will get a player with better exposure at a top league to come and participate in India."
Mandar Tamhane also gave an insight into the wages of the ISL players.
"Regarding the wages, we are probably one of the top 5 nations in Asia if you discount the Middle East countries. But, if you look at the eastern side of Asia, and look at China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia or Thailand, the ISL is competing with them in terms of wages."
He also opined that the marquee players who graced the shores of India in ISL's inaugural seasons have created a wonderful image of the league, and it helps them bringing good foreign players to the league.
"If you look at the ISL in the initial one or two years, we had retired star players. For me, they were marquee players but they were not marquee enough on the pitch. They were marquee off the pitch for what they did in the past."
"Did these marquee players bring an equivalent revenue or sponsorship to the club? I don't think so. But, it created an awareness that there is a league in India called the ISL where Del Piero, Robert Pires, and Anelka come and play. That's why we have been able to convince some really good talents to come and play in India."Published 06 Sep 2020, 21:02 IST