ISL has improved football infrastructure in country: Bhaichung
Published on August 1, 2020 | News Source: ANI
New Delhi, Aug 1: Former Indian football team skipper Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday said the football infrastructure in the country has improved after the inception of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014.
The competition was founded on October 21, 2013, with the goal of growing the sport of football in India and increasing its exposure in the country. The first season of the ISL began in October 2014 with eight teams. During its first three seasons, the competition operated without official recognition from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the governing body for the sport in Asia.
Now after six years things are different, recently ISL was inducted into the World Leagues Forum (WLF) and became the first league from South Asia and seventh in Asia to join the association of professional football leagues which includes the likes of the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga, amongst others.
Due to the ISL, the youngsters are getting more exposure and playing more international matches than prior. "Right now, players are getting more number of international matches than what we used to get in our time. With the introduction of the Indian Super League, the quality of grounds, infrastructure and training facilities have improved," Bhutia said during an Instagram live session on Indian Football Team's official handle.
The league is currently played between ten teams. ATK is the current title-holder and most successful club of the ISL, lifting the trophy three times. After the merger of Mohun Bagan with ATK, the side will now contest the next season under the name of ATK-Mohun Bagan.
When asked about his favourite footballer Bhutia replied, "Krishanu Dey and IM Vijayan were my idols from Indian Football. I started watching international football from the 1986 FIFA World Cup. I was in awe of Diego Maradona's game."