Bengaluru FC face new frontiers this forthcoming football season following their entry into the Indian Super League. Since its establishment in 2013, BFC have played in the I-league and have won two league titles in four years, add to this their two Federation cup titles in 2015 and 2017, they are heading into the new competition with quite the domestic record on their hands.
Bengaluru FC’s switch to the ISL was prompted by their willingness to take on new challenges having set one benchmark after another in the I-league according to club CEO Parth Jindal.
One of the major reasons for BFC’s continued success in the I-league was the fact that they retained their core squad throughout the four years, while improving in certain areas, however with their entry into the ISL they will have to take part in a draft and could risk losing several key members of this core.
The rules of the Indian player draft of next seasons ISL state that a club can retain up to five players, this includes a limit of two senior players and three under 21 players. However, if any of the under 21 players have been capped by the country, then they will be counted as a senior player. If any team keeps two senior players and three uncapped under 21 players, they can enter the draft in the third round, if they keep two senior players and one of their under 21 players are capped they will have to enter the draft in the fourth round. This is done to assist Tata Steel, the second team joining the ISL along with BFC, who have to build a team from scratch.
The maximum squad size must be 25, with a minimum of 7 foreign players (maximum of 8) and 15 Indian players. While signing the first seven foreign players teams should get authorization from the league.
So far BFC have retained captain Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh, although they’ve already lost crucial squad members in the form of keeper Amrinder Singh and Striker CK Vineeth to Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC respectively.
We will have to wait and watch how Bengaluru FC fare in their new adventure, one things for sure though, they will have their eyes on the title, winning the league in their first season is not new to them after all.