Mumbai: The Indian Super League has entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League, the world's most popular and successful football league, to bring its best practices to India under an exchange programme.
The Co-operation Agreement between the ISL, co-promoted by IMG-Reliance, the joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries, Star India with support from All India Football Federation, and the English Premier League will allow the ISL to leverage the league's expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition.
The Indian Super League, set to kick off in September, will receive strategic support, advice and assistance from the Premier League to further the development of the league and its clubs, a release said.
The EPL will also assist in establishing club governance, shaping the brand, fan engagement, defining anti-corruption and anti-doping policies for the ISL, as well as joint promotion of the ISL and Premier League football in India.
Through the alliance, Indian Super League will help Premier League and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India.
This will encourage exchange programmes and partnership building between clubs of two leagues. ISL and Premier League will also cross-promote football coverage on Star India's platform to the growing Indian fan base, the release said.
The co-operation between Indian Super League and the Premier League lends credence to ISL's mission to engage the 200 million-plus Indian football fan base by showcasing a quality football offering with international standards of governance and an unparallelled viewing experience, it added.
ISL will feature eight franchises from Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
England's Premier League is the most watched continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season, 13.9 million fans attended matches with record average stadium occupancy of 95.9 per cent. Across nine months, 380 matches are viewed in 175 countries with coverage available in more than 650 million homes.
India is the Premier League's number one market in terms of social media engagement, with an average reach of 1.48m Indian fans every week.
Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, said, "Having earlier this year signed a mutual co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation, we are very pleased to also enter into this partnership with ISL. This will see both organisations work together and share knowledge in several key areas including player development, refereeing, marketing and promotion.
"We know from our broadcast partner Star India, and our work with AIFF on our long-established grassroots football project Premier Skills that we run in several locations across India, that the popularity of football, and Premier League, is growing. There is a further opportunity to develop the sport as a result of that increased interest and we hope to continue to make a real contribution to all levels of Indian football."
IMG-Reliance chairperson Nita Ambani said, "Partnering with Premier League brings credence to ISL and to our vision of popularizing the sport in India. I am confident the tie-up will immensely help in nurturing and establishing ISL with good governance and best practices. The alliance also presents a great opportunity of partnership and cross promotions between the ISL League Partners and Premier League Clubs."
Jeff Slack, Senior Vice-President, IMG, Global Football Development, said, "The ability to leverage the Premier League's experience in creating a successful league model for both players and fans will be a tremendous value to the Indian Super League as it continues to grow the sport in India."
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India said, "The partnership puts belief in our Star's sports philosophy 'Believe'. From a game that hobbled about on the fringes of Indian sports, there's promise that this partnership will lift and reinvigorate football. Through this tie-up, Star India will cross promote coverage of ISL and Premier League to the growing base of Indian football followers."
AIFF President Praful Patel said, "The AIFF is extremely pleased to be a part of the strategic partnership between the EPL and ISL. This is an outstanding opportunity for ISL to build from the very best in the business when it comes to running a highly successful league."