The Indian Super League (ISL) has made it mandatory for its participating clubs to have one Asian player in their squad from the upcoming 2020-21 season.
As per the ISL player guidelines provided to all the clubs by organisers Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), accessed by IANS, each club is also mandated to have two developmental players born in or after 2000 in the squad of 18 for each match.
The ISL, which is now the country's top league, will still have five foreigners on the pitch but from next season there will also be one Asian player in the squad.
Further, each club will have a minimum squad of 25 and a maximum of 35 from next season. Till last term, the squad size was maximum of 25 players, but with an eye on helping more youngsters get an opportunity, it has been increased.
A minimum of five and maximum of seven international players can be signed by a club including the Asian recruit. Each club can have a minimum of 18 and maximum of 30 domestic players.
"It's a very positive step to have two developmental players in the squad of 18. Even though let's assume they will be on the bench mostly, but being part of the match day sheet and a possibility of getting an opportunity as a substitute will be very promising for these youngsters. Another welcoming step I would say is an increase in the overall squad size to 35 and I would hope to see ISL clubs bring more domestic lads into the roster," a top source said.
The salary cap for each club is Rs 16.5 crore for the 2020-21 season. Player loans and transfer fee will not be included in the salary cap.
Like last season, the marquee player shall be considered one of the international recruits but his salary will not be included in the club salary cap.
The technical committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had recommended that the ISL and I-League should follow the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) guidelines and adhere to the 3+1 foreigner's rule from the upcoming season.
The decision was ratified by the AIFF executive committee, with I-League agreeing to implement the change from the upcoming season itself while ISL was given an exemption for the 2020-21 season.
During the meeting, ISL organisers had principally agreed to the suggestion but sought time of about a month to discuss the issue internally before confirming.
The ISL is expected to start in the third week of November, keeping in mind how the health situation is in the country following the coronavirus crisis. The final of the last season was played behind closed doors between ATK and Chennaiyin FC with the former winning the summit clash 3-1 to bag their record third ISL title.