Indian Super League is probably the first real attempt to develop Football in India and it took it’s first successful step to realization when 84 Indian players were drafted to 8 franchisees last week. During this long wait Indian Super League has battled everything that was thrown at them including criticism from media, ex-footballers, I-League management and IPFCA (To be honest I was one of them critics too) but IMG-R and AIFA fought hard and made everyone believe in their ambitious plan so much so that ex-footballers, I-League club owners and management and IPFCA members have believed in the concept. The proof is in the pudding – Shillong Lajong and Dempo I-League teams have bought franchises, Baichung Bhutia has come on board, Other critics from I-League teams were a part of the draft and me I have acknowledged the fact that there are serious monies for Indian footballers.

How are Indian players benefitting

Much of this success is purely credited to IMG-R and their decision to introduce a player draft system which focuses on controlled salaries and a fair chance for teams to pick fair teams. This draft system has been modeled around Major League Soccer (MLS) player draft system. Only college graduates are given the entry in the MLS player draft despite MLS being an internationally recognized league. 

IMG-R selected a band of players and trained them for a long period and most of them made it through the draft.

Indian players who have been picked by teams are earning between INR 15 to 80 Lakh for a month long competition and also get to play in I-League and the International tie up’s  with clubs like Athletico Madrid, Fiorentina, and other big European clubs.

How is the draft different from player auctions

So unlike Indian Premier League (IPL) follows the system of an auction to determine which player goes into which team. Here a base price is set on the players and the team that bids the highest value comes out as the winner. The money goes from the owners pocket. 

In the case of a draft, though as explained before, a particular number of draft picks and a budget is given. There is no bidding war in a draft but instead a simple procedure that sees teams get the player they wish from the eligible ones.

What Next for Indian Super League 

With the draft for Indian players completes now the focus turns to signing marquee players and International players to complete team rosters and as soon as the telecast dates are announced everything will be driving in top gear. We will have to wait and watch.


I have put together an infographic explaining Indian Super League in numbers, hope this information gives you an understanding into Indian Super League.




Indian Super League and Player Draft System Explained – Infographic

by Nilesh Deshmukh time to read: 2 min