ISL Still Buying In Ageing Players

As the June-August transfer window firmly shut last Wednesday, there was no surprise that details emerging from FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS), have confirmed that the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs brought in players with an average age of 29.

Bringing in ageing foreign players to Indian football teams seems to be a trend set back in the 1940’s. Last season both the ISL and I-league brought in 118 players with an average age of 28 years and 10 months over two windows.

The statistic means the league has the oldest players in the world followed by Northern Ireland, Peru, Kosovo and Cyprus.

It’s clear Indian clubs do not have the same spending power as their European counterparts, with young players being scouted by the big European clubs, leaving the foreign veterans on the verge of retirement available.

Viren D’Silva, CEO of Kerala Blasters, believes that comparing the average ages of ISL franchises with that of clubs in long-established leagues is unfair.

“We have had to build from scratch. If you look at European teams, at a given point of time, they have had 25-30 players on their roster, a lot of them youngsters,” he says.

“Taking that into account, I don’t think the ISL situation is bad. If you compare the last year with the one before, you will find that ISL has become faster and better.

“This year clubs have attracted a lot of young players who are hoping to use the league as a stepping stone. That is only going to get better,” added the official.

The 2016 Hero ISL is set to begin it’s third season in October since it’s foundation in 2013 and will feature eight teams each playing 14 matches during the regular season before culminating with the finals and the ‘Super Sunday’ final scheduled for December 18th.


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