Official or not, Indian Super League (ISL) is the top-tier of Indian football. After the inclusion of the country's most-successful club in recent times, Bengaluru FC, ahead of the fourth season, it's tough to argue against it. As the country gears up for the expanded, revamped, 10-team league later this year, all eyes will be on the domestic player draft in Mumbai on Sunday where nearly 200 players will be available to choose from.
Each team can have a maximum squad size of 25 players. In that, there must be a minimum of 15 Indian and seven foreign players. Of the 15 Indians, there must at least be two under-21 players (those born after Jan 1, 1997) to satisfy the development player quota.
During the lead up to the draft, every team was given an option to retain a maximum of two senior players and three under-21 players from the 2016 squad. If one of the under-21 players retained has a senior India cap, he will be considered a senior player. Though this will not prohibit teams from retaining two other senior players, it will have a bearing on the round in which the team enters the draft. The way this works can be seen below in the draft rules.
Of the ten teams, eight teams exercised this option to hold on to players. Jamshedpur FC has no players to retain while Delhi Dynamos FC opted not to.
The draft will have a total of 15 rounds.
The sequence for selection in the rounds for each club will be determined by a draw of lots.
Jamshedpur, by virtue of being a new club, will get the first pick in both the first and second rounds. Delhi Dynamos will be the second club to exercise its right in the opening round. FC Pune City, which retained only one senior player, will join the above two teams in the second round. The rest of the six clubs, except Chennaiyin FC, will join the draft from the third round. Chennaiyin will enter only in the fourth round because it retained Jerry Lalrinzuala, an under-21 player, who has an India cap.
A team’s salary cap has been set at Rs. 18 crore. Of this, only a maximum of 12.5 crore can be used to sign overseas players. So at least 5.5 crore can be spent on Indian players.
There is no obligation to have a marquee signing. However, should a club wish to sign one, his wages will not be part of the salary cap. But he has to be approved by the League as a marquee signing.
Instant Trading Card: This was first introduced during the 2015 draft. It allows teams a second chance to trade an already picked player. From the third round onwards, any club may, within 15 seconds of another club picking a player, activate the ‘Instant Trade’ process. Representatives of the clubs will then negotiate and close the deal within a stipulated time.
Not all players will find suitors at the draft with at least one-fourth expected to be unsold. But there may yet be an option for clubs to sign these players later on as additional players.
LIST OF RETAINED PLAYERS
ATLETICO DE KOLKATA
FC PUNE CITY
KERALA BLASTERS FC
MUMBAI CITY FC
NORTH EAST UNITED FC
TOP-5 COSTLIEST PLAYERS AT THE DRAFT
- Asian Games 2023, September 25 LIVE updates: India posts 116/7 vs Sri Lanka in women’s cricket final; Vijayveer 4th in 25m men’s rapid fire pistol
- India vs Sri Lanka Cricket Final Live Score, Asian Games 2023: Mandhana, Jemimah help India set target of 117
- Shooting, Asian Games 2023 HIGHLIGHTS: India wins gold in men’s 10m air rifle team; Aishwary gets bronze - Hangzhou 2022 updates
- Premier League: Newcastle hungry for goals and success, says Howe after 8-0 win
- Tottenham leaving Spursy tag behind, says Maddison