‘We want more and more teams to join the I-League and ISL. With this, the two competitions will get stronger. We need more teams so that more players get chances’
Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia says the Football Players' Association of India has asked IMG-Reliance to increase the number of home grown players to six, from the current five, in the starting eleven of the Indian Super League.
The former FPAI president also said that the association wants the ISL to increase the teams from the present eight by "one or two".
Speaking at the FPAI's annual awards function at the Cooperage banquet hall, in Mumbai on Monday, he said: "We want to work with the ISL and I-League. We want more and more teams to join the I-League and ISL. With this, the two competitions will get stronger. We need more teams so that more players get chances..
"We have (also) requested for six Indians in the ISL (against the current norm of five) in the starting eleven."
FPAI's vice-president, former India international Abhishek Yadav, said the association is striving for betterment of the players, including providing them an easier pathway to earn the coaches' norms and medical insurance.
"We have also decided to start a rehabilitation centre to counsel the footballers who get injured and are frustrated that they are unable to play. We are trying our best but there’s always scope for improvement," he said.
"We will also help footballers who want to start coaching camps in their home towns. We do a lot of work but we also have our own set of problems, but we are trying to improve every year," he added.
Bengaluru FC's English coach Ashley Westwoo received the Best coach award at the function.
Talking about India’s rising interest in football over the last three years since he was in the country, Westwood said: "I have seen many improvements. It's not only cricket now. Professional football is rising. That will help Indian football."