India tops incoming transfers list in Asia

India had 158 players coming in, a jump of 32.8 per cent which put the country ahead of traditional Asian powerhouses like Japan and China.

Bengaluru FC became part of the Indian Super League this year.   -  AFP

India had the maximum number of incoming transfers in Asia in 2017, according to a report published by FIFA on Tuesday.

India had 158 players coming in, a jump of 32.8 per cent which put the country ahead of traditional Asian powerhouses, Japan and China.

The spurt can be majorly attributed to the Indian Super League which expanded to 10 teams this season with the inclusion of Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC in an extended league. It also helped that the I-League relaxed its rule to allow clubs to have six foreign players in the squad.  ISL is among the better attended and viewed leagues in the world. It had a television viewership of 216 million in the third season.

In fact, the opening three weeks of of the fourth season, which kicked off in November 2017, has recorded a reach of 81 million viewers.

 

While it was a foregone conclusion that there was bound to be an increase in foreign talent entering the country, it was not expected to top the list in Asia. The ISL clubs have been quite active in the winter transfer window has seen at least 11 international signings. FC Pune City roped in Spanish defender Manuel Jesus Ortiz Toribio and Austrian midfielder Marko Stankovic while ATK had three signings in December.

With China imposing restrictions on the number of foreign players, the Asian giant saw a dip in the number of incoming transfers. The country had 143 talents coming in, a drop of 10.1 per cent as compared to 2016.

In terms of spending, India was placed third in the Asian Football Confederation. It spent USD 36.3 million to procure talents, behind China and Japan.

With no outgoing transfer activity from India, the country saw itself positioned in the top 10 in terms of net club spending. It was placed ninth, ahead of Japan and Saudi Arabia.  Japan registered a net spending of USD 30.4 million while Saudi Arabia accounted for USD 24.1 millions

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