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The ISL basics

When will the ISL begin?

It will start on September 18, 2014. It would be played in eight centres — Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Mumbai and Pune.

How will the league be run?

The league phase will be played on home-and-away basis. The top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals. Semi-finals onwards, the matches will be played in the knock-out format.

How many matches will be played?

A total of 57 matches will be played (54 league games plus two semi-finals and the final).

How will the franchises buy the players?

There will be no open bidding like it is in the IPL auction. The franchises and the organisers would sit together to use the ‘draft system’ for players’ recruitment. The system has often been used in American football and basketball.

Can the biggest players, for example Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney, be seen in action?

It is unlikely that the current top players will play in the ISL. But each team will get one marquee player, who could be a recently-retired famous player. Also, at least five foreign players in each team should be internationals.

Will the ISL be run like the IPL, with a governing council?m A committee called ‘New

League Committee’ would be formed. All stakeholders, including the All India Football Federation (AIFF), will be its members. The AIFF will, however, look after all technical matters.