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Tata Steel, JSW enter ISL with Jamshedpur, Bengaluru franchises
MUMBAI: The Indian Super League (ISL) has expanded to 10 cities with the inclusion of Bengaluru and Jamshedpur. Indian conglomerates Tata Steel and JSW Group have won bids for Jamshedpur and Bengaluru teams respectively.
The ISL, in its fourth edition, will witness an expanded five-month module with the number of participating clubs increasing to 10 from its original eight founding member city clubs.
Tata Steel is a $18.12 billion company and a subsidiary of Tata Group (US$ 103.51 billion 2015–16) while Jindal South West (JSW) Group is a $9 billion company.
The ISL is an initiative of Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India.
The inclusion of two new clubs came through the ‘invitation to bid’ floated by FSDL last month.
An independent panel, along with consulting firm EY, evaluated the bids to present its report to the panel, in the presence of All India Football Federation general secretary Kushal Das.
Tata Steel is the pioneering Indian corporate that has provided national football with a perennial pool of young footballers since 1987 through its Jamshedpur-based facility, Tata Football Academy.
Speaking on the occasion, Tata Steel VP corporate services and TFA chairman Sunil Bhaskaran said, “This is a momentous occasion for Tata Steel, which has always been a pioneer in the development of sports in the country, especially football. Our entry into the coveted Indian Super League reinforces our commitment to provide a fillip to the development of football in the country. We are extremely excited to have won the bid for our hometown Jamshedpur and will provide the best of facilities for football to prosper in the eastern part of our country.”
JSW Group has to its credit established a very successful and professionally run football club in I-League within a period of three years, winning the competition twice including in its debut year.
JSW Bangaluru FC CEO Parth Jindal attributed JSW Group’s decision to bid for an ISL team to the ‘interest of long-term future of Indian football’.
Jindal said, “We’re glad that our bid to be part of the ISL has been accepted. A lot of time and thought has gone into our decision of wanting to be a part of the Indian Super League. The biggest factor has been the interest of the long-term future of Indian football. A longer league is the right road ahead.”
Expressing satisfaction with the bid evaluation process, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “The interest shown by India’s two large corporates to be part of ISL and Indian football’s growth story is an indication of the growing popularity of the sport in the country. Their contribution to Indian football has been immense and will only set the high standards in the ISL.”