The future of Indian domestic club football which took a bleak turn last week has now emerged into some light as the franchise-based Indian Super League (ISL) has opened its doors for expansion to a maximum of three new sides from the forthcoming season.
Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organisers of the ISL on Thursday announced that they would be floating the tender through 'Invitation To Bid’ (ITB), which will be made available from 12th May 2017 until 24th May 2017.
The bids will be accepted for new teams based out of ten cities viz. Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram.
However, in case a winning bid from the city of Kolkata is awarded, the potential new team has to host its home games outside Kolkata for the next two seasons (2017/18 and 2018/19) in accordance to a pre-existing understanding with existing Kolkata franchise Atletico de Kolkata.
All bidding parties must fulfill the eligibility criteria and other requirements specified in the ITB including but not limited to summary of plans to operate their team in the league, including the business model and plan to develop the sport at the grassroots level. The Bid documents are to be submitted on Thursday, 25th May 2017.
The current eight participants of the Indian Super League are Atletico de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters FC, NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC.