Kolkata, Oct 12 (IANS) Aimed at establishing Indian football on the world map, the Indian Super League (ISL) kicked off with a glitzy ceremony amid a heavy presence of Bollywood and sports stars at the Salt Lake stadium here Sunday.
Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra dazzled the ceremony that started with a cultural ensemble of percussion instruments from across India led by maestros like Shivamani, Taufiq Qureshi and Bickram Ghosh.
Priyanka Chopra was also given the honour to introduce the eight teams who were represented by their star co-owners and marquee players.
Among the star owners were former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly with Luis Garcia for Atletico de Kolkata, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar with David James for Kerala Blasters, Hrithik Roshan for FC Pune City, Ranbir Kapoor and Freddie Ljungberg representing Mumbai City FC and Abhishek Bachchan and Elano turning up for Chennaiyin FC.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel watched the spectacular ceremony as Nita Ambani, the founding chairperson of Football Sports Development threw open the tournament.
“Aami Indian Super League er subho suchno korchi (I declare the Indian Super League Open),” Nita, also chairperson of IMG-Reliance, said as the night sky glittered with dazzling fireworks.
City franchise Atletico de Kolkata faced Mumbai City FC in the opening game.