As reported by The Times of India, Football Sports and Development Limited, the organizers of the Indian Super League, are planning to have a two-month league for the players below the age of 21, and with some provisions to have a few players above the age group. Most of the top leagues in Europe also have a league for the reserve team players that runs simultaneously with the main league to develop players and the sport.
Last year, the ISL saw many young players rise in football club ranks to become an integral part of their teams. These players were part of the reserve teams and the under 21 teams but finally broke into the first-team squad. Many players just made their debut and got some match minutes, but many cemented their position in the team. Suresh Wangjam, Akash Mishra, Rahul KP, Rahim Ali, and Sandip Mandi are just a few names that belong to this list.
The proposed league by the FSDL will happen in a secure bio-bubble from January to March in Goa, practicing the same safety procedures as the Indian Super League. The teams have already been given the instructions to have four players in the squad born after January 1, 2001, and two of the four to be a part of the matchday squad. The clubs have also been told to keep aside a budget of 80lakhs to 1 crore for team travel and accommodation. The league will bear the expenses for the operations and organizing costs.
In a meeting with the CEOs of clubs, FSDL said, "there has been a limited number of competitions and leagues since the start of the pandemic outside the professional games." The proposed league will give much-needed game time to the youth players and the players who do not get enough playing time during the ISL.
"This will be a developmental league. We have been told that this won't strictly be for under-21 players. A few overage players will be allowed but many teams only want their reserve teams to get a chance," said one senior club official.
The league's format is a single round-robin, where the top four clubs advance to the playoffs.