Mamata hopes ISL will put Indian football on world map

Kolkata, Oct 12 (IANS) Excited at the inauguration of the Indian Super League (ISL) here, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday hoped the tournament will establish Indian football on the world map.

“I must compliment the ISL organisers for developing the game which will benefit people at the grassroots. I am hopeful that this will take Indian football to the world map. It’s a great step for Indian football,” Banerjee said at the opening ceremony here of the two-month-long football tournament that has a host of international stars in fray.

With an amalgamation of Bollywood, cricket and international football icons, the ISL kicked off Sunday at the Salt Lake Stadium with city franchise Atletico de Kolkata taking on Mumbai City FC in the opening game.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel too said ISL will give the desired boost to Indian football.

“With so many international players participating, ISL will certainly give a boost Indian football. It’s just a beginning but I am happy that we are the only country to which FIFA has given the permission to host a tournament like this,” Patel told mediapersons.

Meanwhile, the city was abuzz with the who’s who of Bollywood and cricket descending to be part of the glitzy ceremony.

Besides cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar along with spinner Harbhajan Singh, Bollywood A-listers like Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Parineeti Chopra, Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and Nargis Fakhri were present at the event.

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