East Bengal’s Mario Rivera - The ‘3+1’ foreigners rule will benefit Indian football


East Bengal head coach Mario Rivera believes that the Indian Super League (ISL) must consider reducing the number of foreign players in each team as it will be beneficial to the Indian national team and Indian football overall.

Recently Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalic also spoke about reducing the number of foreign players in India as it would benefit the domestic talent.

Echoing the Croatian’s view, Rivera told Goal, “It is a difficult decision to take but if you think from Indian football and Indian national team’s point of view, then the 3+1 rule will be much better. Obviously the standard of the matches might go down a little in first few months but more Indian players will get chances to play.

“There are so many players who have never played an ISL match. They will not get any chance if five foreigners play in the starting XI. The difference in the standard of the matches will be only for a few months but after that, the standard will be the same.”

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The Spaniard also suggested that ISL needs to expand and have more teams and games. He said, “I think to get a better league you should have more teams. Only 10, 11 or 12 teams are not enough to get good progression. You need a longer league.

"If a team does not do well in the first two months, it becomes difficult for them to make the play-offs. But if you have longer leagues with more matches teams can make a comeback and fight for the title even after having a bad time at the initial stage.”

The Red and Golds boss, who has been working in Indian football for one and a half years or so, contented that the difference in level of football is not great between I-League and the ISL.

He said, “There are more differences off the field than on the field. Off the field, ISL is more professional. It is a better league. But on the field, it is not a big difference. Obviously there are some better players in the ISL but every year you can see some players leave for ISL then again come back to the I-League. Players keep on switching.”