CHENNAI: It is about to get bigger and longer. The upcoming edition of the Indian Super League may feature the likes of current Indian captain Sunil Chhetri after its governing council announced a player auction system to accommodate high-profile Indian players who were not part of the tournament last year.
The auction will feature up to ‘12-15 players who have represented the national team’ and ISL franchises will only be able to pick a maximum of one player from the process.
Officials of various franchises believe that the auction has been introduced with an eye on players like Chhetri and his Bengaluru FC teammate Robin Singh. Sources within the ISL refused to comment whether an agreement had been reached with Chhetri & Co, but conceded that chances of seeing the Indian captain in the ISL was exceedingly high. “Ultimately, it is up to the player and his I-League team to reach an agreement on playing in the ISL. After the success of the inaugural edition, a number of players who missed out will be looking to play this year. Another factor is that both Chhetri and Robin’s contracts with Bengaluru are expiring this year,” sources told TNIE. Bengaluru FC CEO Mustafa Ghouse though said that the club had not discussed releasing any player for ISL.
It has also been learnt that this year’s edition of the ISL will be longer than the inaugural one. “We are planning to start in September instead of October and we hope to hold the final towards the end of December. It will definitely be more than 10-week period over which it was held last year,” said sources.
The governing council also decided that clubs will be able to retain a minimum of one and a maximum of five international players.
They can either retain last year’s marquee player or sign a new one from the open market. Franchises can also retain a maximum of 6 domestic players. All released stars will enter the player draft.
CFC to Retain Elano
Chennaiyin FC are looking to retain their marquee player Elano, club sources revealed on Monday. “We have indicated that we are looking to retain, among others, Elano, Bernard Mendy and John Stiven Mendoza. This is subject to agreeing terms with them. But by blocking their names, we have made sure that other ISL franchises cannot negotiate with them.”