The Indian Super League has mandated the presence of a minimum of seven Indian players per team from the 2021-22 season onwards. This was previously at six.
The inaugural edition in 2014 had witnessed a playing composition of six foreigners and five Indian players. Over the years, the league has gradually increased the spots for Indian players, with ISL 2017-18 reducing the foreigners cap to five, which has now further decreased to four.
“The latest changes in player guidelines are incorporated with the League’s philosophy of bringing constant improvement to India’s premier football event,” the league said in the release.
The cap on foreign players is in accordance with the Asian Football Confederation’s club competitions’ regulations, which allows for four foreigners (one of whom must be from an AFC nation) in teams taking part in AFC continental competitions. The AIFF technical committee had recommended the same last year.
With the changes, clubs can sign a maximum of six foreign players of whom one is required to be from an AFC member nation.A club also has an option to sign a foreign marquee player within the League-approved classifications.
Starting this season, FSDL [Football Sports Development Limited, the entity which runs the league] will mandate clubs to increase their development player signings from a minimum of two to a minimum of four, while continuing to have two such development players as part of the match-day squad.
As per the rules, a club can have a maximum squad strength of 35 players, with three registered goalkeepers. They can also have an injury replacement for an Indian player (outside of the maximum 35 registered players).
The squad salary cap remains at Rs 16.5 crore for the upcoming season. Indian football’s transfer window will open from Wednesday, June 9.