ADVERTISEMENT
Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » Events » Football fever grips Indian diaspora in the UK with Indian Superfans League

Indians in UK

Football fever grips Indian diaspora in the UK with Indian Superfans League

The second edition of the tournament was organised by the Bengal Heritage Foundation, who also set up the Indian Mela

Priyam Marik | Published 23.07.22, 03:25 PM
A total of six teams competed in the second edition of ISL UK in Slough, Berkshire

A total of six teams competed in the second edition of ISL UK in Slough, Berkshire

Photos: Bengal Heritage Foundation

The Bengal Heritage Foundation (BHF) organised its second year of community football for the Indian diaspora and British citizens on July 17 at Arbour Park in Slough, Berkshire, supported by the High Commission of India in the UK, as part of the celebrations for the 75th year of Indian Independence called Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The one-day event, christened the Indian Superfans League UK (ISL UK), is inspired by the Indian Super League (ISL).

The six clubs that participated in the tournament were East Bengal Fans, ATK Mohun Bagan Fans, Odisha FC Fans, Mumbai City FC Fans, FC Goa Fans and Kerala Blasters Fans. There were also two six-a-side exhibition matches, between the High Commission of India (HCI) and the Bengal Heritage Foundation, and between ATK Mohun Bagan Fans and East Bengal Fans. East Bengal triumphed against ATK Mohun Bagan while HCI managed to get the better of the BHF team. All matches were officiated by licensed referees affiliated to the Football Association (FA) in England.

‘A great initiative by BHF to encourage the football fervour among fans of ISL teams’

Two exhibition matches were also played as part of the tournament

Two exhibition matches were also played as part of the tournament

“Congratulations to the Bengal Heritage Foundation for organising such a great event and taking the initiative to bring the Indian community together. It is my hope and belief that this tournament will keep gaining more strength and following in the years to come,” said Sujit Ghosh, Deputy High Commissioner of India in London. 

After a series of closely contested group stage matches, Kerala Blasters Fans triumphed in a tight final against the fans of Mumbai City FC with the help of a late goal. Sajith Rajan, who led the champion team, said, “This was one of the best tournaments we’ve participated in recently. We’d like to congratulate everyone who was in the organising committee. The arrangements were of the highest standard – from high-class pitches to high standard of refereeing to a well-managed schedule.”

Kerala Blasters Fans came out on top, securing a narrow win in the final against Mumbai City FC Fans

Kerala Blasters Fans came out on top, securing a narrow win in the final against Mumbai City FC Fans

“We are amazed by the standard of this tournament and with the fairness with which it was conducted. Kudos to the BHF organising team. This gave us an opportunity to not only participate but also play with skilled players from other teams. A great show was put together seamlessly,” said Subhajyoti Konar, captain of the Mumbai FC Fans team.

“A great initiative by BHF to encourage the football fervour among fans of ISL teams and evoke support from football enthusiasts. The FC Goa Fans team would like to thank BHF for organising such a wonderful tournament,” said Clinton, captain of the Goa team.

The tournament was streamed live on BHF’s Facebook page and viewed by football enthusiasts across the globe. “We’re glad to have such a huge turnout on a day when the UK is experiencing a record-breaking heatwave. The purpose was to present a fun family day filled with football, shopping, food and to bring communities together. As we approach the 75th year of Indian Independence, it was delightful to see people from all over India who are living in the UK come together under one roof,” said Koushik Chatterjee, vice-president of BHF.

‘A platform for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their products and passion’

Apart from the main attraction of football, BHF also organised an Indian Mela, replete with shopping and entertainment opportunities for families and kids, involving more than 15 small-to-medium entrepreneurs who put up separate stalls.

“The Indian Mela by BHF provides an exciting platform for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their products and passion. It’s an attempt to provide a fun and homely atmosphere for stall owners exhibiting their items from across India,” said Pritha Mukherjee, trustee member of BHF and founder of Posto, an Indian restaurant in Harrow.

One of the jewellery stalls set up as part of the Indian Mela

One of the jewellery stalls set up as part of the Indian Mela

‘Do our bit to preserve and promote our centuries-old sporting heritage’

“From the days of Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari, football has been an integral part of Bengal's sporting heritage. While the last two decades have witnessed an erosion in Kolkata’s Maidan culture, the infusion of commercial interest has brought football back to its prime. The ISL has been one such initiative in India, which has inspired us to create the Indian Superfans League right in the heart of the UK. Bringing together fan teams representing different parts of India, we not only instill an urge to keep individuals fit and competitive on the ground, but also do our bit to preserve and promote our centuries-old sporting heritage,” said Suranjan Som, president of BHF.

Last updated on 23.07.22, 03:25 PM
Share:
ADVERTISEMENT

More from My Kolkata