Should Indian Super League start even as other leagues begin again?

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Indian Super League
PC: Sportstar
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With football slowly getting back to its feet all over the world, now is a good time to take a closer look at the Indian Super League and examine the state of the league ahead of next season.

India’s premier football competition doesn’t begin again until much later in the year, but there are a number of issues that need fairly immediate attention ahead of the start of the seventh edition.

The start date for the new season is yet to be announced while the dates for the adjusted transfer window are still to be decided. The window was initially set to open on June 9 and run till the end of August, but uncertainty over when sporting activities can resume led to a postponement.

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The last few months have been relatively slow and quiet, but thankfully, football is beginning to pick up some pace across the world.

The German Bundesliga has been on for a few weeks now, while the English, Spanish and Italian top flights are set to get back underway in June.

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It’s time to fire up that cable subscription and get your punting hat back on! The TV screens, streaming services and the football betting sites in India are about to get very busy again with matches set to roll in thick and fast. Hopefully, Indian football can also get a move on very soon and clear up the grey areas ahead of the new campaign.

Indian Super League organizers are yet to confirm whether or not there will be an increase in the number of matches for the new season. According to the guidelines from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), teams must play at least 27 league matches if they are to be allowed entry into the AFC Champions League. 

The ISL was originally set to go with this new directive from next season, but Indian football authorities are hoping to gain an exemption from the continental body for one more year. 

Indian Super League
PC: Sportstar

“We will write to AFC pointing out difficulties in fulfilling the 27-match criteria because of the shortened season”, said an official of the Indian federation, AIFF, following an executive committee meeting in May. 

“We are confident the parent body will see reason and grant an exemption”.

Under the current format, every side in the 10-team ISL plays two matches against each of the other nine sides, making up a total of 18 matches per team in the regular season. The ISL expected to make an official announcement on the adopted format in June.

One thing that has been decided is the number of foreign players allowed per club. It had been mooted that ISL clubs would be directed to reduce their foreign imports from next season, but that rule will not be implemented until the 2021-2022 campaign following requests from ISL clubs.

So, just as it was last season, each ISL team can have up to seven overseas players, but one of the players must be from an AFC-affiliated country. 

The clubs must now wait for the opening of the transfer window to fine-tune their squads and plug any holes that might have been identified last season. 

The next few weeks are very important for ISL clubs, with big decisions set to be made regarding the 2020-2021 Indian Super League season.