East Bengal became the 11th franchise in the Indian Super League as Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) welcomed the Red and Gold brigade for the seventh edition of India’s top-flight football league.
Following Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation acquisition of majority stake in East Bengal Club and their successful bid, the club will embark on its maiden ISL journey as the eleventh team in the competition.
“It is such a happy and proud moment for ISL as we welcome East Bengal FC and their millions of fans into the League. The inclusion of both legacy clubs, i.e. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (now ATK Mohun Bagan) opens limitless possibilities for Indian football, especially for talent development in the state,” said Nita Ambani.
“West Bengal has made an immense contribution to the growth of the beautiful game in India. ISL’s growing footprint in the state and across India, is yet another step towards our mission of building a competitive and robust football ecosystem in the country,” she added.
The other 10 teams in the Indian Super League are ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC, Odisha FC, NorthEast United, Hyderabad FC, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC.
The seventh edition of the ISL will likely be held between November to March with the concept of a bio-secure environment in Goa with matches played behind closed doors at three venues – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda; GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim; and Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco.
East Bengal’s arch rivals Mohun Bagan, after its merger with ATK, will also debut in this ISL season.
The entry of East Bengal in ISL means the continuation of the 130-year-old rivalry with Mohun Bagan as the ‘Kolkata derby’ will be played in the ISL for the first time.