ISL to restructure the league by incorporating 6 teams in the playoffs from next season | OneFootball

ISL to restructure the league by incorporating 6 teams in the playoffs from next season

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The Indian Super League (ISL) is set to restructure their league next season by incorporating six teams in the playoffs, rather than the four teams who usually qualify for the semifinals since the inception of the league.

The ISL which came to the fore in 2014, started off with eight teams, of which four of them qualified for the semifinals - with the winners of the playoffs contesting for the final. Following the approval of the ISL as a top-tier league in 2019 by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) the organisers rewarded the top-placed team at the end of the group stage with a direct spot in the AFC Champions League - Asian Football's top-tier competition.

However, a new format has now been discussed with the clubs and approved by the ISL technical committee, which will see the top two teams automatically qualify for the playoffs while teams ranked 3/6 and 4/5 will face off in a knockout game to see who makes it to the final four.

The knockout clash will take place at the home venue of the higher ranked club while the final four format remains unchanged with games being played home and away.

"That's understandable. Qualifying for the playoffs is getting tougher with each passing season and nobody is really assured of a place among the top-four. It's competitive, so if there are more spots to fight for, I don't think the clubs would object," an official who attended the meeting said as quoted by Times of India.

"This is a win-win situation. There is now incentive for clubs to finish one and two. The top team gets AFC Champions League spot, besides prize money of Rs 3.5 crore, while the second-placed teams get a direct playoff spot, without having to go through a tricky qualifier. Even fix and six remain in contention for the ISL trophy," another official added.

The change in format will only make the league more exciting and give the fans more interesting matches to look forward to.

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