The domestic players featuring in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League (ISL) seem to be getting a better deal than their international counterparts. At least money wise.
The players featuring in the top price bracket for Thursday’s international draft will earn almost half of what the highest-paid Indian footballers earned during the domestic players draft that was held last month.
Former PSG and Hull City right-back Bernard Mendy and ex-Sporting Gijon right-back Gregory Arnolin are the most expensive players for the international players draft, valued at $80,000 (approx Rs 48.5 lakh). That is significantly less than what the top-grossing Indian footballers are valued at for the three-month tournament, which is likely to begin on October 12.
Subrata Pal, Syed Rahim (both Mumbai City FC) and Gouramangi Singh (picked up by the now-defunct Bangalore franchise) were costliest in the domestic players draft, priced at Rs 80 lakh (with an additional 33% loan fee).
In fact, the top seven Indian players are more expensive than the highest paid foreigners, with the likes of Sanju Pradhan, Nirmal Chetri (both Rs 70 lakh), Lenny Rodrigues and Francis Fernandes (both Rs 55 lakh) earning more than Mendy and Arnolin.
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IMG-Reliance, on Monday, released a list of 49 players for Thursday’s draft that will be held in Mumbai. The players are a mix of experienced footballers and promising youngsters, with an average age of 28 years and having a collective experience of playing in 8,197 competitive matches in various leagues globally.
However, the average price per international player of $60,490 (Rs 36.5 lakh approx) is higher than the approx Rs 24 lakh average range for an Indian player. The average price for the foreign players also includes agent fees (ranging between $4,500 and $7,000) and medical costs ($750). The amount is significantly less than IMG-R’s initial estimation of $70,000.
Twelve players, including Greek centre-back Ilias Pollalis, who plays for third tier Greek club Glyfada FC, Brazilian midfielder Guilherme Felipe de Castro and Eduardo Silva of Spain, feature in the lowest wage bracket of $38,790.
Former Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra, who’ll pocket $58,185 for the three-month tournament, is the most recognizable name in the list. However, the inclusion of Mendy, midfielder Jofre Mateu — who has two Barcelona appearances to his name apart from playing for Levante (101), Rayo Vallecano (65), Valladolid (69) and Girona (61) — and ex-Liverpool defender Jose Miguel Gonzalez Rey (Josemi) adds weight to the foreign star cast.
Players from 15 countries will be a part of the draft. They include Spain (9 players), France (8), Czech Republic (8), Brazil (5), Portugal (5), Colombia (4), South Korea (2), and one each from Argentina, Canada, Serbia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, England, Greece and Cameroon.
Uncertainty over 8th team
Mumbai: IMG-Reliance confirmed on Wednesday that the Sun Group-owned Bangalore franchise has pulled out of the Indian Super League. However, there is no word yet on their replacement.
Sources said Chennai is almost certain to replace Bangalore as the eighth venue but there is still no clarity over who will represent them during the international players’ draft that will take place in Mumbai on Thursday.
It is learnt that IMG-R are in talks with two consortiums, both led by actor Abhishek Bachchan. One possible tie-up involves a Chennai-based conglomerate (believed to be India Cements) and a European club. IMG-R officials denied to make a comment.]
Meanwhile, in a brief statement, the organisers said Sun’s decision to opt out of the ISL was taken by mutual consent and added that the players picked up by Bangalore during domestic draft will be adopted by the new franchise.
“Sun Group arrived at the decision after internal deliberation and discussion… IMG-Reliance & Star India wish to assure that all the 14 Indian players drafted earlier for Bengaluru franchise will have their representation in Hero ISL.”