Will the New Football Roadmap Improve Sports Betting in India?


India is one of the sporadic cases of countries that host two parallel high-level football leagues. The i-League and the Indian Super League have run together since 2013 when the latter was founded. Despite the i-League being the successor of the National Football League (established in 1996), the Indian Super League is considered by many football fans to be more enjoyable and thrilling. And while some may argue that having two leagues gives punters more opportunities to bet on, there are several reasons why a unified football league is a better idea; both from a sporting perspective ad a betting one.

The Decision to Unify i-League and ISL

In October 2019, the All India Football Federation decided that its two football leagues will become one by 2026. Not just that, but the decision also came to put an end to discussions among supporters of each league on which one’s the dominant force. The Indian Super League was recognized as being the premier competition in the country, and the top teams in the league will take part in the AFC Champions League.

For players who are into online sports betting in India, ISL’s recognition as the superior league doesn’t change much. However, the idea of a unified football league sometimes in the future could come with some consistent upgrades. In the time being, the i-League continues to exist. So, punters that are looking forward to placing their wagers on the Kolkata derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal can still do so at their favorite bookmakers.

The plan is that the top teams from the i-League will be promoted to the ISL up until the 2024-2025 editions. Starting with the 2025-2026 season, the Indian parallel football leagues will blend into one top division.

How is the Unification Helping Betting Enthusiasts?

Even though, at a first look, punters may think they have less football to bet on, the reality is that it will become a lot easier to bet on football. First of all, the two leagues blending will clear up the confusion surrounding Indian football. Even football fans in the country can have a hard time choosing between the teams and the two leagues right now. Once the leagues become one, Indian punters will have a domestic football competition that matches the global standards and attract more bettors. Furthermore, it makes it easier for bookmakers to focus on just one competition and thoroughly cover it with betting markets and more options for punters to make a profit.

It’s not just betting on the top league that will get better after the unification. Wagers placed on the lower divisions are also going to improve. The Super League’s bottom teams will relegate to the lower divisions while top teams in lower divisions get promoted to the ISL. This mechanism makes the inferior divisions a lot more competitive and opens the door for more betting opportunities as well. The new structure of Indian football will increase the betting potential and make football a lot more competitive and entertaining.

Are there Benefits in it for the National Team as well?

Certainly, Indian football fans hope that the football league’s new structure will also bring a level of improvement for the national football team. For a couple of years, India didn’t bring in any big results, and fans started to worry. After a great 4-1 victory against Thailand at the 2019 Asian Cup, the Blue Tigers didn’t manage to find the same form and lost all following matches. UAE defeated them 2-0, while Bahrain got a 1-0 victory to leave India outside the knockout stages. Furthermore, the Matches played at the Intercontinental Cup didn’t bring much joy for Indian football fans either. 4-2 and 5-2 defeats against Tajikistan and North Korea were followed by a 1-1 draw against war-torn Syria. To make matters even worse, the Indian team is almost out of Qatar’s qualifications for the 2022 World Cup.

Many fans believe that the new Indian football league structure will help bring more spirit into the national team as well. With a clear structure and more competition in the domestic league, it would be easier for the national team coaches to select international duty players. However, 2026 looks so far away right now, and Indian football needs a revamp quickly.

Time will tell if the unified Indian football league will actually bring the benefit changes that everyone expects. One thing is certain, though. There’s a lot of appetite for football betting among Indian punters, and the betting market grows from one year to another. So, there are plenty of reasons why you should closely follow the evolution of football in India and its betting.

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