Dawn of a new Era

Mumbai : The Indian Super League (ISL), the first of its kind glamorous football league in India, was launched on Thursday by star team owners Sachin Tendulkar, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and brand ambassador Varun Dhawan who promised to popularise the game and invest in the grassroot development of the sport in the country.

The promoters of ISL, IMG-Reliance and Star India, unveiled all eight team owners, who signed a replica of a football in a symbolic gesture to promote the game. The league’s logo was also unveiled during the ceremony.

The inaugural season of the Hero ISL will be played from October 12 to December 20 in eight Indian cities. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, co-owner of Atletico de Kolkata, and Bollywood star Salman Khan, who is a co-promoter of the Pune franchise, however, were absent due to their personal commitments.

Nita Ambani, founding chairperson of Football Sports Development (FSD) which owns ISL, thanked team owners for coming forward and supporting the sport.

“As a teacher I have learned all about football from my kids and students. Last year when we went to Uttarakhand for Reliance Foundation relief work, I asked the kids what do you want. They told me ‘ma’am please give us boots and footballs’. That is the passion for the game in the country,” said Nita.

“It is a momentous day for us as we set ourselves in building a grand coalition among all stakeholders to develop football in the country and take it to deserving space in Indian sports.”

Dhawan, who is the brand ambassador of FC Goa, which is co-owned by Videocon Group and I-League side Dempo, said his team will play an attacking brand of football.

“Who doesn’t like Goa. You will be a fool not to like Goa.

“We have the two giants of Indian football in Goa — Dempo and Salgaocar. Goa will be playing an attacking brand of football. Watch out for us,” said Dhawan.—PTI

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