Why football is not popular in India?

After cricket, football is the second most viewed and played sport in India. Yet Why Football is Not Popular in India? However, the numbers differ significantly. Indian Super League (ISL) and i-League are the two major leagues in India.

Due to the high-profile players it boasts, ISL is the more ‘glamorous’ and well-liked league. Some teams in the present i-League can trace their roots back to 1889, making it the more historically relevant league.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) collaborated with IMG-Reliance to create the ISL. Average attendance in the inaugural ISL season exceeded that of the prestigious Serie A in Italy.

There is undoubtedly an opportunity for progress; in fact, prestigious leagues like the Barclays Premier League have partnered with the ISL of India. It is somewhat odd that Robin Singh, India’s star striker, and Sunil Chettri, the country’s captain, are not participating in the ISL.

However, in my opinion, AIFF needs to get its act together and work towards improving its infrastructure and grassroots structure.

They must actively encourage foreign teams to establish football academies, as Inter Milan, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Barcelona have already done. And lastly, to potentially combine the ISL and the i-League.

Why football is not popular in India?

There are many reasons Why Football is Not Popular in India? Below are 7 reasons of Why Football is Not Popular in India?

1. Infrastructure Deficit:

One of the main reasons Why Football is Not Popular in India? is as follows: Indian football players have been ambivalent about the lack of infrastructure stymieing the growth of the beautiful game in the nation during the past few years.

The nation didn’t have a single stadium that met the standard set by FIFA until 2015.

FIFA graded several stadiums just one year before the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup, including those serving as the tournament’s hosts in Delhi, Guwahati, Margao, Navi Mumbai, Kochi, and Kolkata.

While the situation at the grassroots level in the nation is more pitiful, with no adequate infrastructure or training facilities available to the younger breed of footballers in the country, the majority of domestic stadiums are still well beyond the benchmark established by FIFA regarded fit to play.

Because it becomes extremely difficult to survive as a player without sufficient infrastructure for training or rehabilitation, it occasionally drives players to transfer to an alternative. 

2. Adaptation to Culture:

Why Football is Not Popular in India? is also influenced by cultural considerations.

Cricket is now engrained in Indian society on a deep level and is not only seen as a sport but also as a representation of unity and national identity.

Because of the game’s enduring appeal and extensive media coverage in India, it has become a cultural phenomenon that appeals to individuals from all walks of life.

Football, on the other hand, finds it difficult to match cricket’s cultural relevance because it doesn’t have the same historical ties and iconic characters.

3. Resources and Facilities:

Football’s development in India has been significantly hampered by the lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities.

Football lacks proper playing fields and infrastructure, in contrast to cricket, which has well-maintained stadiums and cricket grounds in practically every region of the country.

The absence of suitable training grounds, coaching academies, and modern sports facilities makes it difficult for young talent to develop their skills.

This lack of infrastructure creates a vicious cycle: without proper facilities, it’s challenging to nurture emerging football talent, and without talent development, the sport struggles to gain traction.

4. The Future Route: 

Indian football has improved over the past three to four years, in part due to the country’s current FIFA rating of 97 and the launch of the Indian Super League.

Due to the increase in funding, people are now paying greater attention to the game that was previously ignored. The performance of the national team and the rising popularity of the ISL teams both show slow but steady progress.

In regions where cricket was formerly the preferred sport, football is quickly becoming a viable alternative. The “sleeping giant” will be fully awakened and will be actively competing on a global scale thanks to AIFF’s engagement with FIFA and many other stakeholders.

5. Insufficient media coverage:

The importance of the media in raising public awareness cannot be overstated; it has a direct impact on a sport’s popularity or audience reach.

With multi-billion dollar deals to cover domestic and international cricket matches, the Indian media has been crucial in promoting cricket sports over the years and its expanding popularity.

Other sports, like football, haven’t been able to profit from media attention, though, as many parts of the nation still can’t see the Indian football team play in live games.

Except for a few players, the lack of media attention and coverage has slowed the growth. Hence, the statement arises Why Football is not popular in India?

Many people aren’t even familiar with the names of the players that represent their nation. Indian media is still heavily focused on cricket, unlike Western media, which covers all sports equally. 

6. Absence of Global Success:

The popularity of a country locally can be considerably impacted by its performance internationally in that sport. In the case of cricket, India’s outstanding performances on the global stage, notably its World Cup titles, have boosted the status of the game.

Unfortunately, the Indian football team has had little success in international events and has struggled to build a name for itself.

Football’s popularity is struggling to increase as a result of this failure because supporters usually support clubs that excel and have a competitive edge on a global level.

7. Developmental Programmes for Youth:

India has a wealth of undiscovered youthful talent that, if developed with the right coaching and cutting-edge facilities, could become world-beaters. However, tragically, the absence of youth development activities in I-League clubs and other clubs has stifled the hopes and aspirations of millions of children.

The Western nations make sure that clubs have youth development programs since they provide a platform for the local young and nurturing talents to enter the big foray while also aiding in the promotion of the youthful talent pool.


In conclusion Why Football is Not Popular in India? It is a complex interaction of historical, cultural, infrastructural, socioeconomic, and media-related variables that is the cause of football’s modest popularity in India.

While the historical links between cricket and colonial rule and the sport’s subsequent development as a cultural phenomenon have been crucial, other aspects, including infrastructure issues, socioeconomic biases, and competition from other sports, have made it difficult for football to amass a sizable following.

Even though the situation is difficult, it can still be changed. Football can gain more prominence in India’s athletic environment if grassroots development programs, infrastructure improvements, expanded media coverage, and international success are all combined.

Also, check out Top 10 Oldest Football Stadiums In The World 

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