Football in India

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Indian Football
Saltlake Stadium, Kolkata
CountryIndia
Governing bodyAll India Football Federation (AIFF)
(formed in 1937, joined FIFA in 1948)[1]
National team(s)India
Nickname(s)The Blue Tigers
First played1800s
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions
Audience records
Single match131,781
(1997 Federation Cup Semifinal: East Bengal F.C. v Mohun Bagan A.C. at Salt Lake Stadium, 1997)[3]

Association football is the second most popular sport in India after cricket in terms of players participation and the third most popular sport in India in terms of TV Viewership lagging behind long time no.1 Cricket and re-emerging Kabaddi. India's current top domestic football league is Indian Super League, formed as an unrecognised professional league with eight teams (now 11) to promote Indian football to the country and world. The league began on 2014 and after third season, it was recognised as the second national football league, running parallel with the I-League, thus leaving India as one of the few countries with two fully recognised football leagues.[4] After fifth season, it has been recognised as the joint top domestic football league in India. Also contested is Santosh Trophy, a knock-out competition between states (provinces) and government institutions.

The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup was hosted by India in the month of October in 2017 and for the first time the country hosted a FIFA event. The tournament was touted as the most successful FIFA U-17 World Cup ever, with the attendance being a record 1,347,133 surpassing China's 1985 edition where it was 1,230,976. India is also going to host the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. Owing to this, India also bid to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, but lost to Poland. Amidst this, during the Qualifying tournament for 2022 FIFA World Cup, India managed to draw a match 0-0 in Doha against Qatar who are the hosts of 2022 World Cup.

History[edit]

Pre independence[edit]

The origin of football in India can be traced back to mid-nineteenth century when the game was introduced by British soldiers. Initially, games were played between army teams. However, clubs were soon set up around the country. Calcutta FC was the first club to be established in 1872, though reports suggest that they were initially a rugby club and switched their attentions to football as late as 1894. Other early clubs include Dalhousie Club, Traders Club and Naval Volunteers Club.[5] Several other football clubs like Sovabazar, Mohun Bagan and Aryan Club were established in Calcutta around the 1890s. Calcutta, then capital of British India, soon became the hub of Indian football. Tournaments like Gladstone Cup, Trades Cup and Cooch Behar Cup was also started around this time. The Durand Cup and IFA Shield were both started in late nineteenth century.

The first Indian team to achieve success was Sovabazar Club, which won the Trades Cup in 1892. Mohun Bagan Athletic Club was set up in what is now West Bengal in 1889. The club became famous in 1911 when it became the first Indian team to lift the IFA Shield, a tournament previously won only by British teams based in India. It defeated the East Yorkshire Regiment 2–1 in the final of the tournament in a victory that is still regarded by many as the greatest win by an Indian team before Independence.

The Indian Football Association (IFA) was established in Calcutta in 1893, but did not have a single Indian on its board until the 1930s. The All India Football Federation, which runs the game in India, was formed in 1937, but took more than a decade to get affiliated with FIFA. India also insisted on playing barefoot when other nations were putting their boots on and the game was changing fast.[6]

The golden age[edit]

India qualified by default for the 1950 FIFA World Cup as a result of the withdrawal of all of their scheduled opponents. But lack of financial assistance to purchase tickets including the prospects of a very long sea journey meant that the team never made it to Brazil.[6][7] Although FIFA imposed a rule banning barefoot play following 1948 Olympics where India had played barefoot. The myth that Indians refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot is not entirely true, according to the then Indian captain Shailen Manna, it was just a story to cover up the disastrous decision of the AIFF. The team has never since come close to qualifying for the World Cup.[7][8][9][10]

India even picked up the gold medal in football in the first Asian Games in 1951, beating a "booted" Iran by a solitary goal. In 1956, after having put on its boots, India reached the semi-final in Melbourne Olympics football, the first Asian country to do so. It stood fourth in the tournament. In 1962, India again picked up the football gold in the Asian Games.[6] 1951–1962 is usually considered as "golden phase" of Indian football. The National team won numerous titles in this era under the coaching of Syed Abdul Rahim. Other than success in Asian Games football, India also won Merdeka Cup and Quadrangular Tournament while East Bengal garnered rave reviews after its tour of Romania. Rahim's death in the early 1960s pegged Indian football back after a successful period. The former FIFA president Sepp Blatter once famously said that India is "the sleeping giant of world football".[11]

The decline[edit]

India never qualified for the Olympics after 1960.[6] India did qualify for its first Asian Cup in 1964 but failed to capture the title. India's last important performance in an international tournament came in 1970 Asian Games, when it won the bronze medal by defeating Japan 1–0, however the Indian youth team jointly won the Youth Asian Cup with Iran in 1974, the first and only title for India at youth level. For the club football, 24 September 1977 was a golden day as Mohun Bagan managed to hold on for a memorable 2–2 draw at the legendary Eden Gardens stadium in Calcutta, against a Pele led New York Cosmos. Mohun Bagan would have gone on and won the tie, had it not been for a controversial penalty awarded to the visitors that ensured the spoils were shared. The next day, the Ananda Bazar Patrika described Goutam Sarkar as "India's very own Beckenbaur". Indian national team qualified for the 1984 AFC Asian Cup for the first time since 1964, but failed to qualify for knockout stage as they finished last in their group of five teams. After a golden phase in 50s and 60s, Indian football went through a barren phase in 70s, 80s and 90s, gradually losing its foothold as a top Asian team.

However, things were just getting started for the women's team as they began playing in 70s. The first manager was Sushil Bhattacharya, in 1975.[12][13] Indian women's team went on to finish as runners-up in 1980 and 1983 editions of AFC Women's Asian Cup. Later in the 90s, the women's team declined rapidly and a series of defeats with heavy margins followed. In 2009, the women's team reached its all-time low as they were delisted by FIFA in world rankings.[14]

The men's team saw a positive rise after coming close to qualify for final round of 2022 world cup qualifiers as they finished a point behind the group winners UAE. In August 2007, the Indian national team won the Nehru Cup for the first time in its history beating Syria 1–0.[15] In August the following year, India defeated Tajikistan 4–1 to lift the AFC Challenge Cup and in turn qualified for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. In August 2009, India again won the Nehru Cup beating Syria on penalties (6–5).

2011-present[edit]

In January 2011 India played in the 2011 Asian Cup which was the first time India has played in the Asian Cup for 24 years. India were knocked out in the group stage which contained South Korea, Australia, and Bahrain.

Ever since the 2011 Asian Cup the All India Football Federation has been working very hard on Indian Football. For instance they allowed former coach Bob Houghton coach the Indian side in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. After going first in there AFC Challenge Cup group Bob Houghton was sacked and replaced by Wim Koevermans. Meanwhile, the India national under-23 football team won the first round of the 2012 Olympics qualifiers against Myanmar but were knocked out by Qatar. India played their next official matches against United Arab Emirates in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which India lost on aggregate 5–2.

In 2014, India hosted the first-ever Unity World Cup in Goa, Hyderabad and Bangalore. India has participated in the FIFA U-17 World Cup as hosts of 2017 edition of the tournament. This was the first time ever that a team representing India participated in the finals of a FIFA-organised world tournament. India was placed in Group A along with U.S.A, Ghana and Columbia. On 6 October 2017, India played their first ever match in FIFA U-17 World Cup history in front of 47,000 people against the United States. But unfortunately, India lost the match by 3–0. India played their Second match against Colombia. In 82nd minute Jeakson Singh became the first Indian goal scorer in the finals of any FIFA organised tournaments. For the third match of group stage, India faced Ghana where they went down to lose 4–0, finishing bottom of the group A.[16]

Recently in 2018, Indian youth football teams created history by defeating Argentina U20 2–1 in 2018 Cotif Cup and Iraq U16, the defending champions of AFC U-16 Championship by 1–0. The U-16 team qualified for the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship where they came close to qualify for 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup but went down to South Korea by solitary goal in quarterfinals.[17] Indian senior national team qualified for the 2019 edition Asian Cup after missing out in 2015. In that tournament, India beat Thailand by 4–1; their biggest ever win at the Asia Cup, and their first in 55 years.[18][19] Nevertheless, they lost both of their next two group matches against UAE and Bahrain by 0−2 and 0−1 respectively[20][21] and finished at the bottom of the group, thus failed to move to knock out stage.[22]

Structure[edit]

The game in India is administered by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which is affiliated with the regional Asian Football Confederation, as well as with the worldwide body FIFA. The Indian national team has entered into the regional Asian Cup but has never competed in any World Cup. The Indian women's national team has also played in various competitions; moreover, women's football has its own separate inter-state and state competitions. Youth football is administered by the governmental Sports Authority of India.

National team[edit]

National teams of India
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
Football (Men's) Football (Women's) Olympic team Football U-20 (men's)
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Futsal pictogram.svg
Football U-17 (men's) Football U-20 (women's) Football U-17 (women's) Futsal (men's)
Futsal pictogram.svg Beach soccer pictogram.svg Controller.svg
Futsal (women's) Beach soccer (men's) eSports

The India national football team is the national football team of India and is governed by the All India Football Federation. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation. Since 1948, the AIFF has been affiliated with FIFA, the international governing body for world football. In 1954, AIFF became one of the founder members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

At the peak of its success during the 1950s and 60s, the team was automatically advanced to play in the 1950 FIFA World Cup (all the other Asian teams withdrew), but ultimately they did not go to the tournament in Brazil due to the cost of travel,[7] lack of practice time, team selection issues, the issue of the AIFF valuing Olympics over the World Cup, and, unusually, their instance on playing barefoot when FIFA required all players to wear football boots.[23] They won gold medals at two Asian Games, and held the record for the best performance by an Asian football team at the Olympics.

There are also a number of other national teams from the Under-23 team to the Under-17 team, the under-23's is considered to be a feeder team for the national team.

Performance[edit]

The following list includes the performance of all the national teams of India at major completions.

Men's senior team[edit]

The Indian senior national team had several success during the initial years, but as the decades passed the team was no longer one of the best in Asia. The best ever achievement of this team was to win two gold medals at the Asian Games.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
FIFA World Cup 0/22 1950 (qualified but withdrew)
AFC Asian Cup 4/17 2011 Runners-up (1964)
Summer Olympics (1908–1988) 4/17 1960 Fourth-place (1956)
Asian Games (1951–1998) 11/13 1998 Champions (1951, 1962)
SAFF Championship 12/12 2018 Champions (1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015)

Women's senior team[edit]

Relative to their male counterparts, the women's team started very late in the 70s. The team had seen success during the initial years in the form of being Asian Women's championship runners-up twice in the early 80s. The later decade when AIFF took incharge of the team, it suffered massive defeats and went down to all-time low during late 2000s. The team was then revived by AIFF and was provided with jaw-dropping number of quality friendlies during the late 2010s in an attempt to empower women's football. The AIFF had also successfully won the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup hosting bid.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
AFC Women's Asian Cup 9/19 2003 Runners-up (1989, 1983)
Asian Games 2/7 2014 Eighth-place (1998)
SAFF Women's Championship 5/5 2019 Champions (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019)
South Asian Games 3/3 2019 Champions (2010, 2016, 2019)

Men's U-23 team[edit]

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
Asian Games 4/5 2014 Tenth-place (2002)
South Asian Games 4/5 2016 Runners-up (2004, 2016)

Men's U-20 team[edit]

Includes U-19 and U-18 team's performance.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
AFC U-20 Asian Cup 22/40 2006 Champions (1974)
SAFF U-18 Championship 3/3 2019 Champions (2019)

Men's U-17 team[edit]

Includes U-16 and U-15 team's performance.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
FIFA U-17 World Cup 1/19 2017 Group stage (2017)
AFC U-17 Asian Cup 8/18 2018 Quarterfinals (2002, 2018)
SAFF U-15 Championship 6/6 2019 Champions (2013, 2017, 2019)

Women's U-20 team[edit]

Includes U-19 and U-18 team's performance.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup 3/10 2006 Quarterfinals (2004)
SAFF U-18 Women's Championship 1/1 2018 Third-place (2018)

Women's U-17 team[edit]

Includes U-16 and U-15 team's performance.

Tournament Finals
appearance
Last
appearance
Best
performance
FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 1/7 (2022, qualified as hosts)
AFC U-17 Women's Asian Cup 1/8 2005 Group stage (2005)
SAFF U-15 Women's Championship 3/3 2019 Champions (2018, 2019)

Club competitions[edit]

Leagues[edit]

League/Years 1888 1891–1898 1898–1941 1941–1977 1977–1996 1996–1997 1997–2001 2001–2006 2006–2007 2007–2011 2011–2014 2014–2017 2017–
National leagues Level
1 None* 1893 Calcutta Football League 1937
Formation

of Indian Football Association (IFA)

Formation

of All India Football Federation (AIFF)

Santosh Trophy National Football League I-League Indian Super League
I-League
2 None* None* NFL Second Division I-League 2nd Division
3 None* Third Division Discontinued*
State leagues Calcutta Football League and other state leagues
Tournaments
Indian Super League Converted into full league*

National Football League (1992–2007)[edit]

Founded in 1996, the National Football League was the first football league of India to be organised on a national scale.[24]The aim was to develop the sport in the country and give a platform for Indian footballers to showcase their talent. The second division was soon introduced by AIFF in 1997 to supplement the top division.[25]Ten years after formation, a third division was briefly introduced for one season in 2006[26]

I-League (2008–present)[edit]

After the end of 2006-07 season, AIFF disbanded the NFL after missing the aim of professionalism. Supportive to this decision was also the presence of poor infrastructure and financially weak clubs. To replace NFL, AIFF introduced a fully professional I-League, with ten clubs from the last season of NFL, participating in the maiden I-League season.[27]

I-League 2nd division (2008–present)[edit]

The National Football League's second division was succeeded by the I-League second division in 2008. The State FAs nominate top teams from their respective State leagues to AIFF who then select the clubs based on criteria fullfilled. The number of clubs in this league varies each season. Since 2017–18 season, the league saw introduction of I-League reserve sides and these teams aren't eligible to get promoted since I-League is a top division.[28]

Indian Super League (2014–present)[edit]

The I-League which was promised to be a professional league, soon began to suffer from lack of popularity due to poor marketing as the seasons passed by.[29] The deal between Zee Sports and AIFF which was initially signed for a ten-year term in 2006 was terminated in 2010 after disagreement between both the parties. AIFF then signed a massive 700-crore deal with Reliance Industries and the International Management Group on 9 December 2010.[30] The Indian Super League was officially launched on 21 October 2013 by IMGReliance, Star Sports, and the All India Football Federation with an aim of growing the sport of football in India and increasing its exposure in the country, this time with the big names and high professionalism.[31]A total of eight franchises were bought by big corporations, Bollywood stars and cricketers.[32]

In 2017, The AFC were against allowing the ISL as the main league in India while I-League clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan wanted a complete merger of the ISL and I-League.[33] A couple weeks later, the AIFF proposed that both the Indian Super League and I-League should run simultaneously on a short–term basis with the I-League winner qualifying for the AFC Champions League and the ISL champion to AFC Cup qualification stage.[34] The proposal from the AIFF was officially approved by the AFC on 25 July 2017, with the ISL replacing the domestic cup competition, the Federation Cup which was a true knockout cup competition.[35]

Two seasons later, the AIFF and AFC met again to determine the roadmap for Indian football. After the meeting, it was announced that the Indian Super League was officially the top-tier league of India with AFC Champions League slot while I-League was now the domestic cup tournament with AFC Cup slot. The AFC also mentioned some of the key recommendations. The first recommendation was to open a pathway for two I-League clubs to enter into the ISL by the end of the 2020-21 season, subject to the criteria being fulfilled. The second recommendation was, allowing the winner of I-League to stand a chance of getting promoted to the ISL with no participation fee, basis fulfilling sporting merit and the national club licensing criteria to be set out by the AIFF starting with the 2022-23 season. In its final recommendation, it was agreed that there would be no relegation in the ISL for now. The introduction of promotion and relegation into the top league would be implemented by the end of 2024-25 season and the existence of two parallel leagues will be abolished.[36]

Cup competitions[edit]

Federation Cup[edit]

Federation Cup (abbreviated as Fed cup) is an annual knockout style club football tournament in India. It has started in 1977. From its inception till I-League has been started in 1997 (then called NFL), it was the most prestigious national level club football tournament in India. Previously, the winning club of Federation fused to get a chance to compete in the continental level in AFC Cup along with I-League champion team. Presently, the cup has been discontinued since the 2017–18 season and a new Super Cup was inaugurated from the same season and this tournament is the country's top tier cup competition.

Durand Cup[edit]

The Durand Football Tournament was started by then, India's Foreign Secretary, Mortimer Durand at Simla, India, in 1888, initial matches were played in Dagshai. It was basically initiated, as a recreation for British troops stationed in India. The Durand Cup was twice suspended, during the two world wars. In 1940 the venue was shifted to New Delhi.

Super Cup[edit]

The Super Cup is a knockout football tournament. The top six teams from both the top-tier leagues for professional football in India, the I-League and Indian Super League, qualify directly for the main round of the competition. The bottom four clubs from each league participate in qualification round to complete.

IFA Shield[edit]

The IFA Shield is an annual football competition organized by the Indian Football Association (IFA), West Bengal. It is the fourth oldest club cup competition in the world (started in 1893) after the FA Cup, the Scottish Cup and the Durand Cup. Along with local clubs of Bengal, clubs all around the nation and even overseas are duly invited to participate in this tournament.

Santosh Trophy[edit]

Santosh Trophy is an annual Indian football tournament which is contested by states and government institutions. The trophy is named after the late Maharaja Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhary of Santosh. The first winners were Bengal, who also lead the all-time winners list with 32 titles till date.

Overview[edit]

The competitions currently active in Indian football.

Tournament Current Champions Reference
Indian Super League Mumbai City FC [37]
I-League Gokulam Kerala FC [38]
Super Cup FC Goa [39]
I-League 2nd Division Mohammedan [40]
I-League U18 Minerva Punjab [41]
I-League U15 Minerva Punjab [42]
I-League U13 Minerva Punjab [43]
Santosh Trophy Services [44]
Indian Women's League Gokulam Kerala FC [45]

Qualification for Asian competitions[edit]

Competition Qualifying team Notes
AFC Cup Winner of I-League Qualification to the Group Stage
Champions or league stage runners-up of Indian Super League Qualification to the Qualifying Play-off
AFC Champions League Premiers of Indian Super League Qualification to the Group Stage
AFC Women's Club Championship Champion of Indian Women's League Qualification to the Group Stage

State League football[edit]

State leagues are considered to be the best amateur leagues in India. There are currently a total of 36 state associations (including union territories) affiliated with the All India Football Federation.[46] These state associations have state leagues affiliated to them. There is currently no promotion/relegation between the state leagues and the national league's lowest division, I-League 2nd Division. However, the top teams of state leagues are eligible to apply for the I-League 2nd Division. Some state leagues have multiple divisions and a promotion/relegation system between these divisions. Calcutta Football League in West Bengal is the oldest state league and has the highest number of divisions (seven) with promotion/relegation system in place.[47]

State Association League Founded Number of divisions
Arunachal Pradesh Arunachal Super League 1
Assam Assam State Premier League 2008 2
Goa Goa Professional League 1951 3
Himachal Pradesh Himachal Football League 2020 1
Karnataka Bangalore Super Division 2001 4
Kerala Kerala Premier League 2013 1
Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh Premier League 2021 1
Maharashtra MDFA Elite Division 2000 5
Manipur Manipur State League 2006 1
Mizoram Mizoram Premier League 2012 2
Nagaland Nagaland Premier League 2011 1
Odisha FAO League 2010 3
Punjab Punjab Super League 2
Rajasthan Rajasthan State Men's League 2019 1
Sikkim Sikkim Premier Division League 2018 1
Tamil Nadu Chennai Senior Division 5
Tripura Agartala League 1
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow A Division 2
Uttarakhand Uttarakhand Super League 2016 1
West Bengal Calcutta Football League 1898 7

Women's football[edit]

Women's football has not had the relative head start over the rest of the world that the men's game has had, and also has not had the chance to spread through the country like its male counterpart. The game was administered by the Women's Football Federation of India (WFFI) from 1975 until the early 1990s when they were absorbed into the AIFF. However, there are complaints that women's football is treated as a poor relation to the men's game leading to (unfulfilled) plans to de-merge the WFFI.[48]

The women's game, like the men's game, also has its early pioneers in the state of West Bengal. The large Kolkata teams, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, started women's club sides in the 2000–01 season, and they participate with other teams in the Calcutta Women's Football League. However, it has been seen recently that players from Odisha and Manipur have made advances in the game. Players from these two states make up a large part of the India women's national football team.

The women's national competition is played on a state vs. state basis in the India women's football championship.[49] There are also similar national championships for junior teams like the Junior Girls National Championship (for under 19s) and the Under-17 Girls National Championship.

Some female players have become internationally recognised. Among them are Chitra Gangadharan who was selected to play for the All Asian Star team. Jaanki Kotecha was selected as captain to the All Asian Star Team in 2008–2009, where she led her team to victory. In February 2000, Sujata Kar and Alpana Sil became the first Indian footballers to sign a contract outside India. They signed with the German team TSV Crailsheim, but had to return after a month due to problems with the clearance of their international transfer.

Until 1983, women's football took part in international tournaments like the AFC Women's Asian Cup. For example, the team won silver in 1980 at Calicut. In later years it had become poor in status just like its male counterpart. During the 2003 AFC Women's Championship, the Indian team were embarrassed by a 12–0 defeat to China.[50]

The poor support of the national team by the AIFF became evident, when the team's trip to Germany was only made possible by Non Resident Indians in the country, and by the support of the German Football Association. Furthermore, championships are held in remote locations, and national media coverage is said to be restricted to state and local newspapers.[48]

The women's game reached a new low in June 2009 when FIFA delisted the side from its world rankings for being out of action for more than 18 months. This comes at a time when the game was gaining in popularity amongst the younger generation as evident by the local leagues conducted around the country. The recently concluded Mumbai Women's Football League 2009–10 organised by the MDFA (Mumbai District Football Association) was a major success and featured many talented players who had played for the national team. Furthermore, the popularity of the event gave hope that the women's game could rise in India.[51]

Indian Women's League[edit]

On 21 April 2016, over a year after the AIFF started plans for a women's football league, the AIFF President, Praful Patel, said that a women's football league would kick off in October 2016 with six teams to be decided, with the goal to expand to eight teams by 2017.[52] Just over two months later, on 5 July 2016, the AIFF organized a workshop to discuss the India women's national team and discuss the proposed women's football league. Five Indian Super League sides (Delhi Dynamos, Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters, FC Pune City, Atletico de Kolkata) and three I-League teams (Bengaluru FC, Aizawl FC, Mumbai FC) attended the workshop. It was announced that the league would feature the eight teams in the league and two other spots would be determined through a pre-qualification round.[53]

On 14 October, the AIFF announced that the preliminary rounds for the Women's League would begin on 17 October 2016 in which ten teams are split into two groups of five teams each, with the winner from each group qualifying for the national finals.[54]

Stadiums[edit]

There are many football stadiums in India, however only a few of them are currently of world standards. These are namely the largest stadium in India, the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata with a seating capacity of 85,000, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi with a capacity of over 60,000 and the Ambedkar Stadium with a capacity of 20,000 (but is known to have had crowds of 35,000 in the 2009 Nehru Cup). Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, with seating capacity of over 45,000 and Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, with seating capacity approximately 55,000 are two major arenas for football events in Odisha. In Sikkim, the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok which seats over 25,000 is famous as one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world as it is situated in the backdrop of Himalayas. In Shillong the main stadium is the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with a capacity of 25,000 standing. Both the Paljor and the JLN in Shillong have been renovated and now have artificial playing surfaces. Some other stadiums important stadiums are the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, the Barasat Stadium in Barasat, the Fatorda in Goa, the Kaloor International Stadium in Kochi, Municipal Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Guwahati, the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad. Apart from the above-mentioned stadiums, there are hundreds of more stadiums in the country. However, with India likely to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup there is definitely going to be massive renovation of said stadiums around the country. The following tournaments are affiliated by All India Football Federation.

Name City State Est. Capacity Home Team Notes
Ambedkar Stadium †* Delhi NCR 2007 20,000 ONGC F.C.
no seating
B.P.T. Ground Mumbai Maharashtra 1998 5,000 Bengal Mumbai FC
Baichung Stadium * Namchi Sikkim 2011 30,000
Bakhshi Stadium Srinagar Kashmir n/a 30,000 Lonestar Kashmir
Bangalore Football Stadium * Bangalore Karnataka 1967 8,400 Bengaluru FC
HAL Bangalore
Being renovated
Barabati Stadium Cuttack Odisha 1958 45,000 Odisha Football Team [55]
Vidyasagar Krirangan Barasat West Bengal 22,000 Mohun Bagan A.C, East Bengal C., Mohammedan S.C No seats[56]
Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium Ranchi Jharkhand 2006 35,000
Birsa Munda Football Stadium Ranchi Jharkhand 40,000
CAFVD Sports Stadium Khadki Maharashtra 5,000 Khadki Blues FC
Khadki NDA Youth Club
Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium Trivandrum Kerala 1956 25,000 Kerala Police FC
Chhatrasal Stadium Delhi NCR 2000 16,000
Chowgule Sports Centre * Margao Goa 2013 5,000 AIFF Elite Academy [57]
Civil Services Ground Delhi NCR Simla Youngs F.C.
Cooperage Football Stadium * Mumbai Maharashtra 1993 5,000 Mumbai FC
Air India FC
[58]
Dadaji Kondadev Stadium Thane Maharashtra 30,000 No seats
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Football Stadium Neemuch Madhya Pradesh Pride Sports F.C. 10,000
Dr Sampurnanda Stadium Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 1964 10,000 Varanasi City FC
Duler Stadium * Mapusa Goa 8,000 Churchill Brothers S.C. Dempo SC
DY Patil Stadium Navi Mumbai Maharashtra 2008 55,000 Mumbai City FC [59]
East Bengal Ground * Kolkata West Bengal 23,500 East Bengal F.C. No seats
Eden Gardens Kolkata West Bengal 1864 66,000
EKA Arena †* Ahmedabad Gujarat 2017 20,000 ARA F.C.
EMS Stadium Kozhikode Kerala 1977 50,000 Viva Kerala FC [60]
Faizabad Sports Complex Faizabad Uttar Pradesh 1945 30,000 Under-construction
Fatorda Stadium Margao Goa 1989 19,800 Salgaocar
Sporting Clube de Goa
FC Goa
[61]
Fr. Agnel Stadium Navi Mumbai Maharashtra 2004 5,000 Fr. Agnel Gymkhana [62]
G. M. C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium Hyderabad Telangana 1940 32,000
Gachibowli Athletic Stadium Hyderabad Telangana 2002 40,000 Fateh Hyderabad [63]
Gandhi Ground Udaipur Rajasthan 10,000 [citation needed]
Greenfield Stadium Trivandrum Kerala 2013 50,000 [64]
Guru Gobind Singh Stadium Jalandhar Punjab 1971 30,000 JCT FC [65]
Guru Nanak Stadium Ludhiana Punjab 15,000 JCT FC [66]
Howrah Municipal Corporation Stadium Howrah West Bengal 26,000
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium Guwahati Assam 2007 35,000 NorthEast United FC [67]
Jaipal Singh Stadium Ranchi Jharkhand 1977 10,000 [68]
Jawahar Municipal Stadium Kannur Kerala 30,000 Local football clubs [69]
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Chennai Tamil Nadu 1993 40,000 Chennaiyin FC
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Kochi Kerala 1993 60,000 Kerala Blasters F.C.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Shillong Meghalaya 30,000 Shillong Lajong F.C.
Royal Wahingdoh F.C.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Coimbatore Tamil Nadu 1971 30,000 Chennai City FC
Jorethang Ground Jorethang Sikkim 10,000 [70]
JRD Tata Sports Complex Jamshedpur Jharkhand 24,424 Jamshedpur FC
Tata Football Academy
Judges Field Guwahati, Assam 1908 5,000 Gauhati Town Club
Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneswar Odisha 2008 50,000 Samaleswari S.C.
Kalyani Stadium * Kalyani West Bengal 1980 8,000 United S.C.
Kanchenjunga Stadium †* Siliguri West Bengal 30,000 United S.C.
Khuman Lampak Main Stadium Imphal Manipur 1999 26,000 NEROCA FC [71]
Jadavpur Stadium Jadavpur West Bengal 12,000 [72]
Lajwanti Stadium Hoshiarpur Punjab 15,000
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium Hyderabad Telangana 1950 25,000
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium Kollam Kerala 30,000
Lammual Stadium Aizawl Mizoram 5,000 Aizawl F.C.
Madan Mohan Malviya Stadium Allahabad Uttar Pradesh 5,000
Mahabir Stadium Hissar Haryana 1972 25,000
Maharaja College Stadium Ernakulam Kerala 30,000 Josco FC
Malappuram District Sports Complex Stadium Malappuram Kerala 2013 25,000 Malappuram Football Academy
Calicut Medical College Stadium Kozhikode Kerala 2013 10,000 [73][74]
Maulana Azad Stadium Jammu Jammu 1966 30,000 Lonestar Kashmir F.C.
Mela Ground Kalimpong West Bengal 10,000
Mohammedan Sporting Ground * Kolkata West Bengal 15,000 Mohammedan S.C. No seats
Mohun Bagan Ground * Kolkata West Bengal 1891 22,000 Mohun Bagan A.C. No seat
Mulna Stadium Balaghat Madhya Pradesh 10,000
Nehru Maidan Mangalore Karnataka 1950 2,000 various clubs No seating
Netaji Stadium Port Blair Andaman and Nicobar Islands 10,000
Nehru Stadium Durgapur West Bengal 10,000
Nehru Stadium Guwahati Assam 1962 15,000 Guwahati FC
New Bangalore Football Stadium * Bangalore Karnataka TBA 45,000 Bengaluru FC Under-construction[75]
Oil India Ground Duliajan Assam 1964 10,000 Oil India Ltd FC
Paljor Stadium * Gangtok Sikkim 1939 25,000 United Sikkim F.C., Gangtok Himalayan FC
Patliputra Sports Complex Patna Bihar 2011 40,000
Polo Field Tezpur Assam 2015 Tezpur United FC
Pune District Football Association Stadium Pune Maharashtra 2014 5,000 Pune District Football Association
Pune FC Training Ground * Pune Maharashtra 2011 5,000 Pune F.C. Academy [76]
Punjab Agricultural University Stadium Ludhiana Punjab 1989 10,000
Rabindra Sarobar Stadium Kolkata West Bengal 1961 26,000 Tollygunge Agragami
Rajarshi Shahu Stadium Kolhapur Maharashtra 1960 20,000 Mumbai FC
ONGC FC
Air India FC
Rajendra Stadium Siwan Bihar 15,000
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium Aizawl Mizoram 2010 20,000 Aizawl F.C.
Ravishankar Shukla Stadium Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh 1976 15,000
Satindra Mohan Dev Stadium Silchar Assam 30,000 [77]
Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Pune Maharashtra 1993 12,000 Pune F.C.
FC Pune City
Bharat FC
Silli Stadium Silli Jharkhand 20,000
Sports Stadium Jalalabad Punjab 20,000
Sree Kanteerava Stadium Bangalore Karnataka 1997 24,000 Bengaluru FC
Sri Venkateswara University Ground Tirupati Andhra 1984 4,000
SSB Ranidanga Stadium Golaghat Assam 2,000
Sumant Moolgaokar Stadium Jamshedpur Jharkhand 15,000
Tau Devi Lal Stadium Gurgaon Haryana 2000 12,000 Amity United FC [78]
Thangmeiband Athletic Union Ground Thangmeiband Manipur 2006 10,000 North Imphal Sporting Association [79]
Tilak Maidan Stadium * Vasco da Gama Goa 15,000 Churchill Brothers S.C.
Dempo S.C.
Salgaocar S.C.
Sporting Clube de Goa
FC Goa
University Stadium Trivandrum Kerala 1952 20,000 Chirag United Club
VO Chidambaram Park Stadium Erode Tamil Nadu 7,000 [80]
Victory Playground Hyderabad Telangana 1972 2,000
Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan Kolkata West Bengal 1984 85,000 Mohun Bagan A.C.
East Bengal F.C.
Mohammedan S.C.
ATK F.C.
[81]
Yashwant Stadium Nagpur Maharashtra 15,000

Note.denotes stadiums that have hosted international football matches.
* denotes stadiums that are football specific.

International competitions hosted[edit]

Competition Edition Winner Final Runners-up India's position Venues Final venue Stadium
Men's Senior Competitions
Asian Games Football at the 1951 Asian Games  India
1 - 0
 Iran Champions 1 (in 1 city) Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium IndianHockeyGameSnapshot.jpg
Asian Games Football at the 1982 Asian Games  Iraq
1 - 0
 Kuwait Quarterfinals 3 (in 1 cities) Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi) Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.png
AFC Challenge Cup 2008 AFC Challenge Cup  India
4 - 1
 Tajikistan Champions 3 (in 2 cities) Ambedkar Stadium Ambedkar stadium in delhi at morning.jpg
SAFF Championship 1999 South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup  India
2 - 0
 Bangladesh Champions 1 ( in 1 city) Fatorda Stadium Fatorda Stadium, Goa.jpg
SAFF Championship 2011 SAFF Championship  India
4 - 0
 Afghanistan Champions 1 (in 1 city) Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi) Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium CWG opening ceremony.jpg
SAFF Championship 2015 SAFF Championship  India
2 - 1 (a.e.t)
 Afghanistan Champions 1 (in 1 city) Greenfield International Stadium Greenfield International Stadium Kerala 2.jpg
Men's Youth Competitions
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup  England
5 - 2
 Spain Group Stage 6 (in 6 cities) Salt Lake Stadium Salt Lake Stadium gameplay during FIFA U17 World Cup 2017.jpg
AFC U-19 Championship 2006 AFC Youth Championship  North Korea
1 - 1
(5–3 pen.)
 Japan Group stage 4 (in 2 cities) Salt Lake Stadium Salt Lake Stadium - Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata.jpg
AFC U-16 Championship 2016 AFC U-16 Championship  Iraq
0 - 0
(4-3 pen.)
 Iran Group Stage 2 (in 2 cities) Fatorda Stadium Fatorda Stadium.jpg
SAFF U-15 Championship 2019 SAFF U-15 Championship  India
7 - 0
   Nepal Champions 1 (in 1 City) Kalyani Stadium Kalyani Stadium 07.JPG
Women's Senior Competitions
AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup TBD
SAFF Women's Championship 2016 SAFF Women's Championship  India
3 - 1
 Bangladesh Champions 1 (in 1 City) Kanchenjunga Stadium Football Stadium in Siliguri.jpg
Women's Youth Competitions
FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup TBD

Nehru Cup[edit]

The Nehru Cup was an international invitational association football tournament organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), named after the First Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Editions Winners
1982  Uruguay
1983  Hungary
1984  Poland
1985  Soviet Union
1986  Soviet Union
1987 Soviet Union Soviet Union
1988 Soviet Union Soviet Union
1989  Hungary
1991  Romania
1993  North Korea
1995  Iraq
1997  Iraq
2007  India
2009  India
2012  India

Media[edit]

The Indian Super League is officially broadcast on Star Sports network in India. International coverage is done by Fox Sports.[82]

1Sport was announced as the official broadcaster for I-League from the 2019–20 season.

While I-League 2nd Division will broadcast on Facebook.

Men's Football in India (English-Rights)
League/Cup

(or)

Competition

Television Rights OTT Rights
Conglomerate Channel(s) Conglomerate Platform
Indian
Indian Super League Star India Star Sports 1 Star India Disney+ Hotstar
I-League Lex Sportel 1Sports Facebook India

and Dream Sports

Facebook

and FanCode

I-League 2nd Division Lex Sportel 1Sports Facebook India Facebook India

(Final Round)

Durand Cup
Super Cup
AFC/UEFA Leagues
Premier League Star India Star Sports Select 1/2 Star India Disney+ Hotstar
EFL Championship
FA Cup Sony India Sony India SonyLIV
La Liga ViacomCBS MTV ViacomCBS Voot
Copa del Rey None None
Bundesliga None Dream Sports FanCode
DFB-Pokal None None
Coppa Italia None None
Serie A Sony India Sony Ten 2/3 Sony India SonyLIV
UEFA Champions League Sony Ten 2/3
UEFA Europa League Sony Ten 2/3
AFC Champions League Star India Star Sports 3[83] Star India Disney+Hotstar
International Football
FIFA World Cup Sony India Sony India SonyLIV
Copa América Sony India Sony Six, Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 Sports Track
UEFA European Championship Sony India Sony Six, Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3 Sports Track
UEFA Nations League Sony India Sony India SonyLIV
AFC Asian Cup Star India Star Sports 3 Star India Disney+Hotstar

Seasons[edit]

The following articles detail the major results and events in each season of Indian football since 2011.

2010s: 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
2020s: 2020–21 2021–22

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]