Team Chennai replaces Sun Group in ISL

Mumbai: Team Chennai has replaced the Sun Group promoted Bangalore franchise in the Indian Super League football tournament set to be held tentatively between October 12 and December 20, the organisers announced here today ahead of the International Player Draft featuring 49 players.

"The eighth team in the ISL would be Team Chennai represented today by Prashant Agarwal of Play on Skills which has a technical collaboration with Inter Milan in India," said Anupam Dutta, CEO of ISL`s holding company Football Sports Development Private Limited, a joint venture between IMG-Reliance and Star India.

"The owners of the Chennai franchise would be announced later," Dutta added. Yesterday, Sun Group, IMG Reliance and Star India issued a joint statement that the former was opting out of the ISL on on mutual consent.

"Sun Group arrived at the decision after internal deliberation and discussion, and wish to thank the Indian Super League management for all its support," the joint statement said.

"IMG-Reliance and Star India wish to assure that all the 14 Indian players drafted earlier for Bengaluru franchise will have their representation in Hero ISL," it added. The other seven franchises remain the same.

Meanwhile, the International Player Draft started today to pick 49 out of 56 needed for the running of the IPL-style League and Dutta said before the process began that the average age of the players was 28.

"The experienced players will form the spine of the clubs. There are five goalkeepers and only one can be picked by a club," said Andy Knee of IMG.

Already four clubs have picked seven international players ahead of the draft and their names would only be announced during the draft, he said and added that ISL has attracted worldwide attention from football quarters.

"ISL has created a buzz worldwide and several calls have been received from players, agents, clubs. Indian club football has not attracted this type of attention before, with all due respect to the I-League," he added.

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