|Date||R||Kodus vs Võõrsil||-|
|12/08 14:00||10||ATK Mohun Bagan vs Jamshedpur FC||View|
|12/09 14:00||10||Hyderabad FC vs East Bengal Club||View|
|12/10 12:00||10||FC Goa vs Odisha FC||View|
|12/10 14:00||10||Northeast United vs Chennaiyin FC||View|
|12/11 14:00||10||Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru||View|
|12/15 14:00||11||Odisha FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan||View|
|12/16 14:00||11||East Bengal Club vs Mumbai City FC||View|
|12/17 12:00||11||Bengaluru vs Jamshedpur FC||View|
|12/17 14:00||11||FC Goa vs Northeast United||View|
|12/19 14:00||11||Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters||View|
|12/22 14:00||12||Jamshedpur FC vs FC Goa||View|
|12/23 14:00||12||Bengaluru vs Hyderabad FC||View|
|Date||R||Kodus vs Võõrsil||-|
|12/04 14:00||9|| Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters ||0-1|
|12/03 14:00||9|| Bengaluru vs ATK Mohun Bagan ||0-1|
|12/03 12:00||9|| Chennaiyin FC vs Hyderabad FC ||1-3|
|12/02 14:00||9|| Odisha FC vs Northeast United ||2-1|
|12/01 14:00||9|| Mumbai City vs FC Goa ||4-1|
|11/27 14:00||8|| Jamshedpur FC vs East Bengal Club ||1-3|
|11/26 14:00||8|| ATK Mohun Bagan vs Hyderabad FC ||1-0|
|11/26 12:00||8|| FC Goa vs Bengaluru ||0-2|
|11/25 14:00||8|| Northeast United vs Mumbai City FC ||1-3|
|11/24 14:00||8|| Odisha FC vs Chennaiyin FC ||3-2|
|11/20 14:00||7|| FC Goa vs ATK Mohun Bagan ||3-0|
|11/19 14:00||7|| Hyderabad FC vs Kerala Blasters ||0-1|
The Indian Super League (ISL) is the men's professional top tier football league in Indian football league system. It is organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), and their commercial partners Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL). For sponsorship ties with Hero MotoCorp, it is officially called as Hero Indian Super League.
The league currently comprises 11 clubs. Each season of the tournament generally runs from October to March. During the league stage of the competition, each club plays against all the other clubs in a round-robin style. At the end of the league stage, the team with the most points gets declared the Premiers and presented with a trophy named League Winners Shield, along with the runners up to play in the play-offs, while the next best four clubs qualify to play qualifying playoffs to join the top two in the playoffs. The season then culminates with the ISL Final to determine the Champions who are presented with the ISL Trophy.
The competition was founded on 21 October 2013 with the aim of growing the sport of football in India and increasing its exposure in the country. The league began in October 2014 with eight teams. During its first three seasons, the competition operated without official recognition from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the governing body for the sport in Asia. The competition was also structured along the same lines as the Indian Premier League, the country's premier Twenty20 franchise-based cricket competition. Each season lasted just 3 months, from October to December, and matches were held daily. However, before the 2017–18 season, the league expanded to ten teams, expanded its schedule to six months, and earned recognition from the AFC.
The league stage winners participates directly in the AFC Champions League and the ISL Final winner participates in the AFC Cup qualifying-playoffs.
Since the league's inaugural season, a total of five clubs have been crowned as the Champions: ATK (3), Chennaiyin (2), Bengaluru (1), Mumbai City (1), and Hyderabad (1). Since its introduction in 2019–20 season, Goa, Mumbai City and Jamshedpur have won the League Winners Shield once.
Football in India has existed in many forms since the game first arrived in the country during the 19th century with the first nationwide club competition, the Durand Cup, beginning in 1888. Despite India's early history in the game, the country's first nationwide football league did not begin until the semi-professional National Football League commenced in 1996. Before the creation of the National Football League, most clubs played in state leagues or select nationwide tournaments.
In 2006, the All India Football Federation, the governing body for the sport in India, reformatted the league as the I-League in an effort to professionalise the game. However, during the following seasons, the league suffered from a lack of popularity due to poor marketing.
In September 2006, the AIFF signed a 10-year television and media contract with Zee Sports. The deal would make Zee broadcast the National Football League, later the I-League, and other tournaments organised by the AIFF and selected India's international matches. However, in October 2010, the deal between the AIFF and Zee Sports was terminated after differences between both parties related to payment and marketing of football in India.
On 9 December 2010, it was announced that the AIFF had signed a new 15-year, ₹700 crore deal with Reliance Industries and the International Management Group.
The Indian Super League was officially launched on 21 October 2013 by IMG–Reliance, Star Sports, and the All India Football Federation. The competition was announced to take place from January 2014 to March 2014, but was postponed shortly thereafter to September 2014.
At first, it was announced that bidding for the eight Indian Super League teams would be completed before the end of 2013 and there were already high interest from big corporations, Indian Premier League teams, Bollywood stars, and other consortium. However, due to the rescheduling of the league, the bidding was moved to 3 March 2014. It was also revealed around this time that bidders would need to comply with financial requirements as well as promotion for football developments within their area. Finally, in early April 2014, the winning bidders were announced. The selected cities/states were Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. Former India cricket player Sachin Tendulkar, along with PVP Ventures, won the bidding for the Kochi franchise. Another former Indian cricket player, Sourav Ganguly, along with a group of Indian businessmen and La Liga side Atlético Madrid, won the bid for the Kolkata franchise. Meanwhile, Bollywood stars John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor, and Salman Khan won the bid for the Guwahati, Mumbai, and Pune franchises respectively. Bangalore and Delhi were won by companies while Goa was won by a partnership between Videocon, Dattaraj Salgaocar, and I-League side Dempo.
The first team to be launched officially was the Kolkata franchise as Atlético de Kolkata on 7 May 2014. On 7 July 2014, the team announced the first head coach in league history, Antonio López Habas. The next day, Kolkata also announced the first official marquee signing in the Indian Super League, UEFA Champions League winner Luis García.
Eventually, all eight teams were revealed as Atlético de Kolkata, Bangalore Titans, Delhi Dynamos, Goa, Kerala Blasters, Mumbai City, NorthEast United and Pune City. However, on 21 August 2014, it was announced that due to Bangalore's owners dropping out, Chennai would be given a franchise instead. The team was eventually named Chennaiyin FC. At the same time, the original marquee players were Luis García, Elano, Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires, David James, Freddie Ljungberg, Joan Capdevila, and David Trezeguet.
The inaugural season began on 12 October 2014 at the Salt Lake Stadium when Atlético de Kolkata defeated Mumbai City, 3–0. The first goal was scored by Fikru Teferra. The first Indian to score in the league was Balwant Singh for Chennaiyin FC.
For the first three seasons of the Indian Super League, the competition operated without official recognition from the governing body for football in Asia, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and FIFA, the world governing body. In October 2014, then FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke stated that the world governing body only recognised the ISL as a tournament, not a league. The official league for football in India remained the I-League. With no recognition from the AFC, the teams also couldn't participate in Asian club competitions, the AFC Champions League or the AFC Cup.
During the first three seasons of the Indian Super League, attendances across the competition had exceeded the expectations of pundits and of the domestic I-League mainly due to the timings at which the matches took place especially on working days and needs no mention sheer promotion. Television ratings were also strong for the competition, which is expected after better commentary, better telecasting, pre-match and post-match shows, as well as hourly reminders in various channels and social media interaction. However, despite the general success off the pitch, the competition drew criticism in other areas. Due to the need to accommodate the ISL into the Indian football calendar, the I-League season was shortened and went from having an October to May schedule to January to May schedule. Indian players would play for both an ISL team and an I-League club while the I-League continued to suffer from lack of visibility compared to the ISL. India's then head coach Stephen Constantine had called for both the ISL and I-League to either run together at the same time or merge.
For the first three seasons Atlético de Kolkata emerged as the dominant team by finishing in the top four every year, and winning the Final twice (2014 and 2016) by defeating Kerala Blasters both times.
On 18 May 2016, IMG–Reliance, along with the AIFF and I-League representatives met at a meeting in Mumbai. During the meeting, it was proposed that starting from the 2017–18 season, the Indian Super League become the top-tier football league in India while the I-League be reformed as League One and be relegated to the second division. The competition would also expand by two teams and continue to operate without promotion and relegation, as stated earlier due to the 15 crore attraction of the FSDL each year, but run for 5–7 months instead of 2–3. The idea was not entertained by the I-League representatives.
In June 2017, IMG–Reliance, the AIFF and the I-League representatives met with the AFC in Kuala Lumpur in order to find a new way forward for Indian football. 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. A couple weeks later, the AIFF proposed that both Indian Super League and I-League run simultaneously on a short–term basis with the I-League champion retaining the AFC Champions League qualifying stage spot and the AFC Cup qualifying stage spot going to the ISL champion. 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 It was also stated that the competition would now run for five months starting with the 2017–18 season and the competition would expand to 10 teams.
A month before, on 11 May 2017, the ISL organisers started to accept bids for 2–3 new franchises for the 2017–18 season. The bids would be for ten cities, namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri and Thiruvananthapuram. It was also clarified that if Kolkata were to win at least one bid that the new Kolkata side would have to play away from the city for only two seasons. A month later, on 12 June, it was announced that I-League side, Bengaluru, and Tata Steel (for Jamshedpur) had won the bidding for the new teams.
On 22 September 2017, the competition announced officially that it would be expanding its season by two months, thus making the league last for five months instead of three. The competition would also go from having matches played daily to being played between Wednesday and Sunday.
The next year, before the 2018–19 season, it was reported that Reliance Industries had bought out IMG's shares in the Football Sports Development. IMG realising that the robust business model will soon be exposed, pulled out, thus giving Reliance Industries 65% ownership while Star Sports retains 35%. In this season, Bengaluru had achieved the feat of being the first club to wint he final after topping the league standings. Following the 2018–19 season, Pune City was disbanded in 2019. The club's franchise rights were then transferred to an ownership group which founded Hyderabad FC. In August 2019, Delhi Dynamos became the first ISL club to relocate when it moved from Delhi to Bhubaneswar and rebranded as Odisha FC.
On 14 October 2019, the AFC held a summit in Kuala Lumpur, chaired by the AFC Secretary General Windsor John, which involved key stakeholders from the AIFF, the FSDL, the ISL and the I-League clubs, and other major stakeholders to propose a new roadmap to facilitate the football league system in India. Based on the roadmap, that was prepared by the AFC and the AIFF at the summit and approved by the AFC Executive Committee on 26 October in Da Nang, in 2019–20 season Indian Super League will attain the country's top-tier league status and run parallelly with I-League, allowing the Indian Super League premiers to play in AFC Champions League and the I-League champions to play in AFC Cup. In addition, starting with the 2022–23 and 2023–2024 season, I-League will lose the top-tier league status and Indian Super League will become the sole top division, wherein the champion of the I-League will stand a chance to be promoted to the Indian Super League with no participation fee, basis fulfilling sporting merit and the national club licensing criteria to be set out by the AIFF. But There won't be relegation from Indian Super League at this time. In its recommendation for 2024–25, it was agreed to fully implement promotion and relegation in between the two leagues, and abolition of two parallel leagues. In accordance to the general league system, the club finishing at the top of the table was crowned as the season's premier, and Goa became the first to achieve the title in 2019–20 season.
Another key recommendation by the AFC in the roadmap was to open a pathway for two I-League clubs’ entry into Indian Super League by the end of the 2020-21 season, subject to the criteria being fulfilled. Therefore, efforts were taken early on by the organisers to include the two historic clubs– Mohun Bagan and East Bengal into the league, which succeeded in the following season. Before the start of the 2020–21 season, the owners of ATK merged its brand with the football section of Mohun Bagan to become ATK Mohun Bagan on 1 June 2020 and entered the league. On 27 September 2020, after securing investment from Shree Cement, East Bengal joined the league as an expansion team, thus becoming 11th team in the league.
Following the Indian football roadmap, Indian Super League become the sole top-tier league in the country from 2022–23 season.