International Break: A Joke For ISL - THE INDIAN LEAGUE

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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

International Break: A Joke For ISL


International Break in Football is that period in footballing calendar when the top division leagues of countries around the World suspend their operation so that National Teams can compete against each other in friendlies or World Cup/Continental Championship Qualifiers. As there is no club football during this period, the Clubs release players who have been selected for National Duties.

One such International Break is on right now with Leagues in Europe and Asia making way for European Qualifiers and World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers. Countries in both the Confederations are giving their all in order to Qualify for the biggest Sporting event in the world. Top division leagues are on hold so that there is no conflict between club and country loyalties for players as well as fans.

But things are a little bit different in India. As I write this article, Indian Football Team is getting ready to take on Oman in their 5th Match of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Muscat. At the same time, Atletico de Kolkata will be hosting Kerala Blasters at Yuva Bharti Krinangan, Kolkata in their third match of Indian Super League. While the Leagues around the World are suspended, ISL, though not recognised by FIFA, is on full swing.

What makes matter more complicated is the insensitivity of the ISL Franchisees towards Indian National Team. Stephen Constantine, the Head Coach of National Team, wanted a preparation camp for players selected for Indian team from 29th September but ISL franchisees refused to release their players for the Camp and agreed to release them 4 days prior to the match.

This was a big set back for the National Team as they reached Turkmenistan without any preparation and paid the price for it. The match ended in a 2-1 loss for the Visitors, their fourth in a row. All this while, back home, Indian Super League was in full swing, with fans enjoying live telecast on 7 Channels where as for India's match, fans had to rely on Twitter handle of All India Football Federation. 

It raises question on the intention of IMG-Reliance, Organisers of ISL as well as marketing partners of AIFF, which makes them responsible for the fortunes of National Team too. While they spend crores on Rupees on a tournament that is nor recognised by FIFA but fail to find broadcaster for India's games.

While Top Leagues like English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1 and many such are on break, India's Unofficial tournament continue their operation with no regards for National Team's interest.

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