ISL's success will inspire other sports: Sourav Ganguly

Updated: 20 November, 2020 08:57 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Kolkata

ATK Mohun Bagan will kickstart the tournament against Kerala Blasters on Friday, and in their next match on November 27, they will face arch-rivals SC East Bengal in the much-anticipated first derby of the season

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly

The start of India's football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic has the country's cricket boss Sourav Ganguly excited as he believes a smooth ISL would go a long way in driving away the "fear" of conducting big events across the nation. Ganguly, who co-owns ATK Mohun Bagan football club, on Thursday hoped that the success of the Indian Super League (ISL) in a bio-bubble in Goa will inspire other sports.

Speaking exclusively on the Hero Indian Super League’s Instagram Live session ahead of the Hero ISL Season 7 tournament opener, Sourav Ganguly talks about the return of the Hero ISL this year, "Cricket has just finished, now it’s time for more sports, time for football. I have always been very connected with the ISL. I have enjoyed it because born in Calcutta and from a very young age, I have seen football only. Cricket came later, so I have been attached with ATK and now ATK Mohun Bagan since the inception of the ISL. We have been champions 3 times, so the attachment is even more because when you play well and win, you get more attached to it, so looking forward to another great season starting in Goa from November 20th. The standards have really gone high in the last five years. When we became a part of the ISL in the first season, our main concern was that the game of football needs to go forward and develop and that’s happening exactly, and its expectation of another great and competitive season is here again."

Sourav Ganguly talks about how the ISL will inspire other sports in India to resume, "It’s the first Live sport in India and it will inspire a lot of other sports as well, and I say that, including cricket, because our domestic season will start soon. We are looking to start in the New Year…. It will inspire us to feel that security that if the ISL goes without any hiccups and I am sure it is going to happen because the bio-bubbles have been created. We saw how the bio-bubbles have an effect in the IPL. It will inspire a lot of other sports to keep starting because a lot of them are still tentative, a lot of them don’t know how it is going to affect in India because the numbers in some of the states are still very high. But it is the beginning of something very good because life needs to get back to normal, we need to get back to our lives and keep that fear away. I think a very good ISL season will clear all the cobwebs and doubts in everybody’s mind.”

Sourav Ganguly discusses on how football in India can spread to other areas, "We have to slowly enlarge the ISL and it will happen. Give this sport 10 years, give ISL 10 years, and let’s talk after 10 years where this sport has turned to. There’s no quick fix in this world, especially with football. We need to give it a bit more time. So, more teams will obviously be involved. We have seen it. We started from 8 in the first year to 11 now and with time, it’s going to bring interested parties back to the game. ISL is the only way forward for Indian football and we have seen it. We have seen the attachment of Reliance, Star, AIFF and I think together, they can create magic for this sport."

Viewers and fans can catch the Hero ISL 2020-21 season opener between Kerala Blasters FC and ATK Mohun Bagan on November 20th, 2020 7.15 PM onwards LIVE and exclusive on the Star Sports Network, Disney+ Hotstar VIP & JIO TV

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First Published: 20 November, 2020 08:46 IST

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