New Delhi: The Indian Super League (ISL) is all set to kick-off today. Eight franchise teams from all over the country are participating in the two-month long event.
The teams are Atlético de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, North East United FC and FC Pune City.
In the opening match today, Atlético de Kolkata will take on Mumbai at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata at 7 pm.
The tournament will be played in a round-robin format with the top four sides to qualify for the semi-finals. It will be played over two legs, with the winners advancing to a one-leg final. There will be no promotion or relegation.
The October 12 to December 20 tournament's -- bankrolled by Reliance Industries, Star India and sports management group IMG -- primary focus is on developing young talent to try and make an impact on the world stage.
Some of the leading names from Indian sport, entertainment and business have joined forces to buy the teams.
Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is co-owner of the Kerala Blasters, where former England goalkeeper David James is player manager, while former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly is co-owner of Atletico de Kolkata – who are affiliated to Atletico Madrid – while other teams are co-owned by leading Bollywood actors.
The ISL was founded last year in an effort to make football a top sport in India and make Indian football a major player worldwide.