India kicked off the new Indian Super League, the soccer pro league that many have been waiting for. The first game of the 10-week soccer tournament was played in front of a large number of spectators, along with celebrities and important business figures.
There has been much discussion regarding the new soccer league, and FIFA has said that it is hoped that some of the famous international players will help to put the Indian Super League on the map, and help the sport of soccer to grow in India.
Jerome Valcke, the FIFA secretary general, commented on players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Luis Garcia, and Robert Pires, noting that they would be able to help unlock the large potential that football has in India. He said: “It’s important because these stars are who kids everywhere are dreaming about.”
In addition to this, Valcke noted that not only is it important that Indian fans and those around the world see international players, it is important that the local players are also seen. For this reason, there are limits as to how many foreign players can be in each team. The reason for this is that the sport will only grow and flourish if local players get the chance to play and improve their games.
On this important point of Indian players making up the bulk of the teams, Valcke noted: “It shouldn’t be, as we have seen at some European clubs, that none of the local players are playing in the XI. We always have to maintain a balance between local players and international stars. That’s how you create strong footballers in the country.”
At this time, there are eight city-based clubs. Each club may have up to seven foreigners, and one marquee player. The other 14 spots in each of the soccer squads must be made up from Indian players. Of those 14, at least four need to be from the city of each club.