The Indian Super League (ISL) is seeking to expand its reach with organisers inviting new bids for the fourth edition of the popular football tournament.
The ISL has taken off since launching in 2013, attracting higher broadcast ratings and stadium numbers than India’s top-tier I-League competition.
The franchise-based, eight-team competition, which has attracted former stars like Alessandro Del Piero and Nicolas Anelka, is seeking up to three new teams and is gauging interest from 10 Indian cities, including major centres like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
“One to three new winning bidders shall be enrolled and awarded the right to participate in the Indian Super League,” ISL said in a statement.
Any potential bid from Kolkata — which already has an ISL franchise, current champions Atletico de Kolkata — would need to find a different home base, the statement added.
Suggestions that the ISL has usurped the I-League as India’s top competition have been rejected by the All India Football Federation.
But the ISL — which is modelled on India’s hugely popular Indian Premier League cricket tournament — is expected to attract more foreign players and interest if it expands to a 10 or 11 team format.
India recently climbed to the 100th spot in the latest FIFA rankings but remains a football minnow, despite having a population of well over one billion.