Mumbai, March 15: BCCI president and ATK Mohun Bagan co-owner Sourav Ganguly said that the uninterrupted conduct of the Indian Super League should inspire other sports to start their calendars.
The ISL-7 concluded in Margao, Goa on Saturday.
“The ISL has shown to the world that India can host long format sports events even in the most challenging times. This should inspire many other sports in India now to kick-start their full calendar,” said Ganguly.
The former India cricket captain expressed his appreciation on the success of an uninterrupted ISL, terming it “a new benchmark for the Indian sports industry.”
“The successful completion of Hero Indian Super League in these challenging times is indeed a new benchmark for the Indian sports industry,” said Ganguly.
The ISL organisers, Football Sports Development Limited, had put in place stringent health and safety protocols to conduct the first major live sports event in India amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The season saw FSDL deliver uninterrupted footballing action in Goa by setting up 18 bio-bubbles across 14 hotels, housing 1600 people and conducting close to 70000 RT-PCR tests.
The ISL is estimated to have invested close to Rs 17 crore in maintaining the bio-bubbles.
Commending the organisers, Ganguly said, "It was a mammoth task undertaken by the organisers, considering the uncertainties surrounding initially. Must say, a job well done when you look back at the last 6 months.”
While kick-starting ISL on November 20 last year, FSDL chairperson Nita Ambani had said, "It has taken a lot of courage, determination, and planning to bring football back into our lives, in these pandemic times.”
The 11-team ISL season 7 recorded 298 goals scored in 115 games (an increase of 20 games from previous season) with Mumbai City FC winning both the League Winners Shield and ISL champions trophy.
FSDL also invested approximately Rs 20 crore on rentals and creating infrastructure at eight training pitches for the clubs and refurbishing the three playing grounds at Fatorda Stadium, GMC Stadium Bambolim and Tilak Maidan in Goa to organise the top football league in India.