The All India Football Federation (AIFF) alongside commercial partner IMG-Reliance and TV network Star India have launched the new football Indian Super League.
The league has been modelled on Indian cricket’s hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) and is due to launch on January 18 and will run through to March 2014, with a second window planned in the year. Indian conglomerate Reliance, sports agency IMG and Star India will own three equal stakes in the league.
Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Goa, Delhi and Bangalore are understood to be the eight cities where the franchises will be based, with player auctions scheduled to be held between October 30 and November 5. Some of the world’s top players have already been linked with participation.
IMG chairman and CEO Mike Dolan said: “The Indian Super League will feature international football stars combined with good football facilities, rivalry between India’s biggest cities and the roar of a billion passionate fans. It envisions creating new football powerhouses in this part of the world, which will rise to global prominence as the country and the sport further develop.”
However, the new league has been criticised as a threat to India’s existing football competition, the I-League, which is also run by the AIFF.