IMG-Reliance, commercial and marketing partner of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), has launched a tender process for acquisition of franchises for the delayed Indian Super League (ISL) project.
The inaugural season of the ISL club competition was due to start in January, but in October was postponed for eight months. The league, which is being developed by IMG-Reliance – a joint venture between the IMG agency and Indian conglomerate Reliance – is now set to run in a permanent September to November window. Organisers stated that the decision to postpone had been taken after consulting with pay-television broadcaster Star India, which acquired the rights for the league in a 10-year deal that included equity in the venture.
IMG-Reliance and Star today launched the tender process for franchises, with bidders asked to submit offers by March 25. Bids have been invited for prospective teams in the nine cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. However, only eight of these cities will be granted the right to compete in the ISL.
The league aims to revolutionise the sport in India, offering Indian football greater global exposure and eventually helping the national team qualify for the 2026 Fifa World Cup.