The hue and cry over which is the official football league in the country is long going. With both the I-League and the Indian Super league packing some of the best talents from within the country and from outside, it has become a raging debate both officially and among fans as to which is the supreme league. The Indian Super League with its glamorous franchise owners and money definitely has the upper edge, but it seems I-league team Bengaluru FC has been proving the point that at the end of the day what matters is the talent and the game itself.
Bengaluru, which played for the I-league side last year, joined the glamorous ISL with the other teams having a big advantage over them. With more money in hand and big international stars like Dimitar Berbatov playing in the league, it was always difficult for Bengaluru to come from behind and win the tournament. But the current standings will show you that not only is the club is doing well, they lead the current rankings. Bengaluru FC has managed to win 10 of their 14 matches so far and has displayed beautiful football.
Now played in 10 cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Margao, Kochi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Pune, Bengaluru and Tatanagar, the ISL is still a six months tournament and does not run for the complete year. The league may have bought football into the limelight but it is clear from Bengaluru’s performance that I-league is still a more serious league with more focus on just the game.
Though AIFF insists that the I-league is the official A division league, it sounds like a hollow claim. The Indian Super League is clearly the chosen one, considering the subtle moves that undermine the I-League. A prime example of this would be the fact that 40 of 91 I-league matches, including the first Kolkata derby, have a 2 pm kickoff compared to all ISL games getting prime-time slots. But it does not change the fact that the tournament is still majorly an entertainment-based league. If one considers football a serious game, I-league is still the place to go and one can say Bengaluru has given enough proof in the matter.