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ISL may cut foreign footballers, do away with marquee players

The FPAI, however, denied that it has been informed about the possible changes in the rules.

IANS | Kolkata |

The Indian Super League (ISL) franchises are likely to have a total of eight foreign footballers in their squad and five in the playing XI from next season, it has been reliably learnt.

Sources in the know have confirmed that after a series of meetings with existing teams, the organisers of the cash-rich league have come to a decision to pay heed to India coach Stephen Constantine's wish of having more Indians in the starting line-up.

"There will be eight foreigners in a squad and five in the playing XI. This means six Indian footballers will get the opportunity. This is what they want to do from next season," the official told IANS on Tuesday.

The Football Players' Association of India (FPAI), among other things, is expected to raise the issue of six foreigners in an ISL team in the all stakeholders' meeting at Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. 

FPAI President Renedy Singh and former president and All India Football Federation (AIFF) advisor Bhaichung Bhutia will attend the conference.

"I don't think the issue will be discussed in tomorrow's meeting. It's their (ISL) internal matter. AFC has got nothing to do with it. I believe FPAI have been told about this," the source added.

Also, it will not be compulsory to have a marquee player in the side, the source said. Previously, every ISL franchise had a marquee player, generally a big name in the world of football.

The FPAI, however, denied that it has been informed about the possible changes in the rules.

"No, they have not informed us (about the reduction in number of foreign players)," FPAI General Manager Cyrus Confectioner told IANS.

The development comes on the back of ISL being tipped against I-League as AIFF and IMG-R, marketing partners of the sport's governing body in the country, mull running the two leagues simultaneously until there is a merger.