ISL 2019-20: Increase in clubs opting to have pre-season in India

NorthEast United vs Pune City
ISL media
NorthEast United FC and Pune City FC were the only two clubs that had their pre-season entirely in India last season ...

A look at the trends in the choice of location of pre-season fixtures of Indian Super League (ISL) teams reveals an interesting find.

It seems that more and more teams are opting to polish their squad and finish their final lap of pre-season preparations in India as opposed to overseas locations like most clubs did in the previous seasons.

Eventual champions Bengaluru FC flew to Spain for their 2018/19 pre-season, testing their abilities against top guns like Barcelona B and Villarreal B. Teams like Jamshedpur FC, ATK and current SuperCup winners FC Goa too decided in favour of visiting the home of 2010 World Cup champions as part of their pre-season preparations.

Kerala Blasters began their tour at home against Girona and Melbourne City but later flew to Thailand.

In fact, NorthEast United FC and Pune City FC were the only two teams whose pre-season games were held only in India.

However, ahead of the 2019-20 season, seven of the 10 ISL clubs will be carrying out their pre-season preparation in India. Only, Kerala Blasters, Delhi Dynamos and NorthEast United are expected to travel overseas.

Kerala Blasters are set to back their bags to Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) to train ahead of the new season. NorthEast United will also fly to the UAE for pre-season while Delhi Dynamos are alerady in Spain and will go to Qatar for a short stint as well.

Every other team, including defending champions Bengaluru FC are set to stay put in India and prepare for the 2019/20 season. This could be attributed to various factors such as the need to adapt to the weather, playing conditions, and budget constraints.