The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is India’s unrivalled football championship which kicked off on October 12, 2014. The inaugural winners of the league were ATK, while Chennaiyin FC were the winners of the second season. The third edition of the Hero ISL saw ATK reclaim the trophy, winning their second in three years, while the fourth season saw Chennaiyin win back the trophy again. Bengaluru FC won the title in the 2018-19 season.
The league is co-promoted by Reliance, Star India and supported by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). India’s leading industrialists and celebrities from sports as well as the Indian film industry have heavily invested in the league’s eleven franchises based in the following cities: Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.
The league is committed to investing in stadium refurbishment in the ten identified venues and also to a strong grassroots development programme that will create a platform to groom football talent in the country. With a mission to revolutionise the sport, the Hero ISL is positioned as a high quality and dynamic league that will elevate Indian football to an international level.
Some key points for the future development of football in India are:
- Mission: provide an entertaining and high quality football league that engages hundreds of millions of fans, drives improvement in playing standards and delivers value for all partners
- Vision: For India to become a global football power and qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
- Objectives: present an international-quality domestic football competition, engage hundreds of millions of passionate and proud Indian football fans, encourage and facilitate the masses to start playing the sport, produce a large pool of talented Indian players and ‘heroes’ to play for the Indian national team, set new standards in sports administration, governance and marketing in India, to deliver value to all our stakeholders and partners and create demand for further investment.
There is a high potential in the development of the Indian League for the number of inhabitants of India and for the consequent international relevance that it could have in the next 10 years as is already happening in China.