Present Pyramid of Indian Football
In the past few years, the pyramid of Indian football has undergone a massive change
Years ago, the National Football League was the top-tier domestic league of Indian football. Later on, it was changed into the I-League. Not just the domestic league, but other knockout tournaments were also shelved and were replaced by new tournaments. In short, in the past few years, the pyramid or structure of Indian football has undergone a massive change.
What is the importance of this article?
Given India is a cricket-crazy nation, most of the population is aware of minor and major Indian cricket leagues and their structure. However, a good bulk of people in India do not know about the structure of Indian football. Not to forget, in recent times, Indian football has witnessed a considerable change in terms of equality and fan following. Therefore, for the new fans of Indian football, we have drafted this article.
State Leagues (First Step)
The first round or step in Indian football is the state leagues. Almost every state in India has a league of its own. However, there are some states where the state leagues are also divided into several divisions. For example, West Bengal’s state league is called the Calcutta Football League (CFL).
To reach the first division of the Calcutta Football League, a team has to start from CFL fifth division group B and then gain promotion to group A, CFL fourth division, third division, second division, first division and then finally, the CFL.
I-League Second Division (Second Step)
Once a team wins the top-tier league of its state, it gains promotion to the I-League second division, which is hosted by the All-India Football Federation, the official football governing body of the nation.
I-League (Third Step)
Formed in 2007, the I-League was India’s top-tier domestic football league. However, in 2017, the Indian Super League was turned into the top-tier domestic football, which means at present, the I-League is India’s second-tier football league. The winner of the I-League’s second division is promoted to the I-League.
Indian Super League (ISL, Fourth and Final Step)
Founded in 2014, as of 2022, the ISL is India’s top-tier domestic football league. However, unlike the domestic football leagues of other countries, the Indian Super League does not feature a promotion or relegation system. However, the system is likely to begin in 2024-2025 and once it begins, the winner of the I-League will gain promotion to the ISL, whereas the bottom finisher will be relegated to the I-League.