The Indian Super League is growing from strength to strength Image: AFP
The Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament will see two new teams from next season with the introduction of franchises from Jamshedpur and Bengaluru.
The Jamshedpur franchise is owned by Tata Steel Limited while the Jindal South West (JSW) group owns the Bengaluru team.
"The ISL, in its fourth edition, will witness an expanded five-month module with number of participating clubs increasing to 10 from its original eight founding member city clubs," Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organisers of the ISL, said in a statement on Monday.
"The inclusion of two new clubs came through the 'Invitation To Bid' tender process floated by FSDL last month. An independent panel along with consulting firm EY evaluated the bids to present its report today to the panel, in the presence of All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das," the statement said.
"Tata Steel Ltd, which has won the bid to participate in ISL from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, are the pioneering Indian corporate to have provided national football with perennial pool of young footballers since 1987 through its Jamshedpur based facility -- Tata Football Academy
"JSW Group which owns the successful football club Bengaluru FC through its subsidiary JSW Sports won the right to participate in ISL from Bengaluru city. JSW Group has to its credit established a very successful and professionally run football club in I-League within a short period of 3 years; winning the competition twice including in its debut year," the statement added.
The ISL started in 2014 with eight city based teams -- Atletico de Kolkata, NorthEast United, Delhi Dynamos, FC Goa, Mumbai City FC, FC Pune City, Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters.
Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal were also in talks with the AIFF in recent days over their inclusion in the ISL. But the negotiations hit a roadblock after the two clubs laid down several conditions before the AIFF.
Among other things, the two clubs have demanded that they should be exempt from paying the franchisee fee of Rs 15 crore and they should be allowed to use Kolkata as their home base.
The issue of using Kolkata as a home base by Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have grave implications for Atletico de Kolkata -- the current ISL representatives from the city -- as it will mean that their support base in football-crazy West Bengal will disappear overnight.
Das expressed satisfaction with the bid evaluation process, and hoped that the expansion of the ISL will improve the standard of the game in the country.
"The interest shown by India's two large corporates to be part of ISL and Indian football's growth story is an indication of the growing popularity of the sport in the country," he said.
"Their contribution to Indian football has been immense and will only set the high standards in ISL."
(With inputs from IANS)