Bengaluru FC's switch to the Indian Super League (ISL) was prompted by their willingness to take on new challenges having set one benchmark after another in the I-League, club CEO Parth Jindal said today.
The JSW group-owned Bengaluru FC, along with Tata Steel Limited, joined the ISL bandwagon after winning the bids for the two new teams.
"We've enjoyed tremendous success in the I-League in a very short span of time and the ISL will be a completely new challenge that we're relishing. We're really looking forward to new rivalries and the ISL experience as a whole," Jindal said.
The official announcement of the increase in the number of teams in ISL from eight to 10 came amid uncertainty and discontent among I-League clubs regarding the domestic football structure chalked out by the All India Football Federation.
With the winner of ISL assured an AFC Cup berth, Jindal, whose team created history last season by becoming the first Indian club to make the final of the continental event, felt the time was right to make the switch.
"We've been setting a benchmark in Indian football since the club's inception four years ago, both on the pitch and off it.
"But Bengaluru FC has always been about the bigger picture - to help Indian football develop. We felt the time was right to make the switch to the ISL. The league is marketed really well and it has undergone changes since its inception. We've chosen to go with the road ahead for Indian football."
Besides making the final of AFC Cup, Bengaluru FC have won two I-League titles in three years and a Federation Cup triumph this season.
Jindal said ISL was the way forward for Indian football.
"Like I mentioned, we felt the ISL, at this point in time, is the way ahead for Indian football. The longer league this season will help Indian football on so many fronts. Then there's the prospect of playing the AFC Cup through the ISL which was a key factor in us deciding to join the league."
Fans are an integral part of Bengaluru FC.
"Our fans are the best in the country and I can say this without an iota of doubt. A lot of the key decisions we have taken at this club have been taken keeping their interests in mind too. And our decision to join the ISL is no different.
"The fans have backed us through thick and thin and I'm certain they will be with us as we turn a new chapter in the club's history. We've given them a trophy every season and our aspirations won't be any different this season," the chief executive officer concluded.
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