Indians in playing XIs go up to 7 from this ISL season. Image Source: IANS News

Mumbai, June 8 : The upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season will see an increase in the number of Indians in the playing XIs and clubs will have to ensure that a minimum of seven Indians are on the field at all times.

The increase from the current six to seven Indian players will mean a spot less for foreign players. Now, a maximum of four foreigners will be picked in the XIs, as the new coach and player selection guidelines of the Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organises of the ISL, come into play.

The cap on foreign players to a maximum of four is in accordance with the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) club competition regulations.

Following the new rules, clubs can sign a maximum of six foreign players, of which one should be from an AFC member nation. Clubs also have the option to sign a foreign marquee player within the League-approved classifications.

"Since the inception of ISL, there has been constant progression, innovation, and focus to develop Indian football. The latest changes in player guidelines are incorporated with the League's philosophy of bringing constant improvement to India's premier football event," said an ISL statement.

"The inaugural 2014 season had a playing composition of six foreigners and five Indian players. Over the years, the League has increased the spots for Indian players, with ISL 2017-18 having a mandate of (a) minimum six Indian players on the field, which now has been increased to seven for the 2021-22 season." Starting the 2021-22 season, FSDL will ask clubs to increase their development player signing from a minimum of two to four, while continuing to have "two of such development players be part of the match-day squad".

A club can have a maximum strength of 35 players, with three registered goalkeepers. A club can also have an injury replacement for an Indian player, outside of the maximum 35 registered players.

The squad salary cap remains at Rs 16.5 crore for the upcoming season.

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