Six of the eight franchises in the IMG Reliance and Star India-promoted Hero Indian Super League (ISL), a franchise-based football league in the country, will be selecting 14 domestic players for their teams in the player drafting process to be held from Monday to Wednesday. The Goa and Guwahati teams, which have already selected the players from their I-League clubs Dempo and Shillong Lajong, respectively, will not take part in the selection process.
Unlike the Indian Premier League, organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, wherein the franchise owners bid for players across three categories and have a salary cap they can spend, the teams in ISL will be selecting the players at a fixed price.
The six teams are expected to shell out Rs 22-25 crore in the drafting process. The costliest players in the league are Subrata Paul, Gounrmanga Singh and Nirmal Chettri among others. The highest cost per player in the inaugural season of the league will be Rs 80 lakh.
A total of 84 players are in the central pool and will be drafted by the six teams over 14 rounds. Goa and Guwahati will be revealing the names of their selected players, while the six teams draft players. Seven additional players will be placed in the reserve pool for injury replacements. During the draft, teams need to select players only from the draft pool of 84 players and not players in the reserve pool.
The league has loaned 30 players from the I-League clubs for four months and the franchises picking up these players will have to pay the I-League. The rest 54 players have been signed by ISL on a one-year contract and will be paid by the franchise that selects them, at the price mentioned in the contract. Four clubs in the I-League have agreed to loan players – Mumbai FC, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Rangdajied United FC.
The first day of the drafting process will be dedicated to sequence selection. The names of the six teams (excluding Goa and Guwahati) will be placed in sealed envelopes visible to the representatives of all the teams present.
A designated authority from the league will choose envelopes one by one to determine the order in which the teams will select their players in each round of the draft. The team whose name is in the first envelope chosen will be allocated the letter ‘A’; the team whose name is in the second envelope chosen will be allocated the letter ‘B’ and so on until all six teams participating in the draft have been allocated a letter between ‘A’ and ‘F’. The teams from Goa and Guwahati will automatically be allocated letter ‘G’ and ‘H’, respectively.
The actual drafting process will begin at 10 am on Tuesday and will continue till Wednesday.
In order to give each team a fair chance at choosing players, the order of selection will change from round to round. For example, in the first round, the teams will announce their choice in the order from A to F, while in the second round the selection will follow the order F to A. Similarly, each round will have a different team calling the first choice, such that all teams have the first call in two of the 14 rounds.
Players once selected cannot be exchanged, replaced, transferred or traded in any case. Players who sustain injury during the pre-season training might be replaced in accordance with the league rules.
The drafting of the international players (seven per team) and the marque players (one per team) will take place around August 25. On the request of the franchises, teams can scout and select a maximum of two international players on their own, and draft the balance from the central pool provided by the league. In case a team is unable to find players on its own, it can avail of the central pool for all the international players required in the team.