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Football India Ranking: The Ultimate Guide

As one of the most enchanting countries in the world, India encompasses a vibrant mix of cultures, languages, and traditions. Within this multifaceted splendor, sports play a significant role. Cricket may reign supreme as the nation’s favorite pastime. Football, with its rich history, current status, international performance, improvement measures, and future projections, is also fervently followed. Football came to India during colonial times. Today, passionate teams, organizations, and the government work to advance the sport. India’s progress in football, both nationally and internationally, is fascinating.

History of Football in India: Football India Ranking

Indian Football: Origins and Early Years

Football in India dates back to the mid-19th century with the establishment of the Durand Cup in 1888, making it one of the oldest football competitions in the world. Early on, the sport was primarily enjoyed by British soldiers and officials stationed in India. The Indian Football Association (IFA) was established in 1893 but was largely dominated by British officials.

Influence of Colonial Rule on Indian Football

The colonial period had a significant impact on the development of football in India. The British introduced football to India during the mid-19th century, promoting it through the army and civil services. Regular competitions like the Durand Cup and the IFA Shield became popular, gathering local interest.

However, Indigenous players had limited opportunities to participate due to socio-economic barriers. It wasn’t until Mohan Bagan, an all-Indian team, defeated the East Yorkshire Regiment in the 1911 IFA Shield final that the game gained wider acceptance among the natives. This historic victory marked a turning point and led to the spread of the game across the country.

Early Successes and Decline

During this time, India did well in international football, winning Gold at the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games and reaching the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. However, the game declined after the 1960s due to reasons like insufficient support, poor coaching, and less visibility compared to cricket.

Contemporary Football in India and Rank

The past two decades have been a period of gradual resurgence for football in India. Since its launch in 2014, the Indian Super League (ISL) has played a significant role. Alongside the All India Football Federation’s grassroots initiatives, it has contributed to the revival of football’s popularity and respect in India.

As of September 2023, India ranks 99th out of 210 in the FIFA Men’s World Ranking. On the other hand, the women’s team stands at 57th out of 168 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. While these rankings reflect the country’s struggle in global football. They also mark a step in India’s steady climb back to football prominence.

Unfolding the Future of Soccer in India

The future of Indian soccer shines bright, with a significant amount of young talent emerging from the Indian Super League (ISL) as well as a variety of youth leagues across the country. The emphasis is now placed on nurturing indigenous talent and enhancing the national team’s FIFA ranking. India is making strong efforts to host important international tournaments like the U-17 World Cup, which could greatly boost the growth and popularity of soccer in the country.

Current State of Football in India: Football India Ranking

Exploring the Structure of Indian Soccer Leagues

To understand Indian soccer, you need to know about two leagues: the Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League. Both leagues usually play from November to March. The ISL is the top league with 11 teams and works like Major League Soccer in the United States, based on franchises. The I-League, in contrast, adheres to the typical promotion-relegation model that is commonly followed by various soccer leagues globally.

Public Support and Participation

Football garners substantial interest in India, particularly in states such as West Bengal, Goa, Kerala, and the Northeastern states. In these regions, the sport has a massive fanbase and active grassroots-level participation. Notably, the popularity of the sport has increased with the advent of the ISL, which has witnessed considerable stadium attendance and television viewership. However, cricket remains the dominant sport in India.

Investments in Indian Football

Investment in Indian football has seen a significant upswing following the establishment of the ISL in 2014. The league is backed by corporate heavyweights like Reliance Industries and has garnered inflows from celebrities and other major business entities. Furthermore, international collaborations with clubs like Manchester City, which acquired a stake in Mumbai City FC, mark significant investment milestones. However, investment in grassroots and infrastructure development needs more focus to boost the game’s popularity and quality.

Talent and Skill in Indian Football

In terms of talent and skill, Indian football has been showcasing promising signs. Players like Sunil Chhetri, India’s most capped player and all-time top scorer, have gained international recognition. The talent pool is expanding, with players even making their way to foreign leagues. Yet, according to the FIFA World Rankings, the Indian men’s national team ranked 99th out of 210 teams worldwide. It indicates there is still a long way to go towards becoming a globally competitive force.

Paving the Way for Advances in Indian Football

In an attempt to elevate India’s Football ranking, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been executing several strategic plans. Among these initiatives is the reinforcement of professional and grassroots structures. The expansion of a youth development program, improvements to football coaching education, and a concerted effort to develop women’s soccer. Additionally, the AIFF intends to host the Asian Cup in 2027. A step that promises to further stimulate the evolution of the sport within the country. The path Indian football appears to be traversing signals a promising upward trend. However, notable advancements necessitate sustained funding, long-term commitment, and growth at the grassroots level

Global India’s Football Performance

Indian Football FIFA Rankings
Indian Football FIFA Rankings

Updated Ranking as on Feb 2024

India fifa position

India’s Place in the World of Football

fifa ranking india historical data
FIFA Ranking India historical data up to Dec 2023

India’s FIFA ranking has seen big changes, from its best at 94th in 1996 to the lowest at 173rd in 2015. India hasn’t played in a FIFA World Cup yet, even though they almost qualified in 1950. They withdrew because of issues like high travel costs and disagreements about players wearing boots. Since then, India has kept trying to qualify but hasn’t made it to the main tournament yet.

Performance in Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

In the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the primary continental football competition in Asia, India’s performance has been more encouraging. The Indian team was the runner-up in 1964 and reached the semi-finals in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, showing they’re improving.

South Asian Football Performance

India usually does well in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) region, where the competition isn’t as tough as globally. They’ve won the SAFF Championship seven times, showing they’re a strong team in this regional group. It has also won the Nehru Cup and the AFC Challenge Cup, further bolstering its regional football stature.

Transcending Regional Football

While India’s national team has shown formidable strength within its regional federation, translating this success onto a global stage requires a substantial intensification of efforts. It’s also important to note that the Indian football team’s performance is not solely reflective of the nation’s talent pool. Infrastructure, training facilities, and the popularity of the sport at a grassroots level all play significant roles in shaping a nation’s football capabilities.

Developing Football Talent in India

India has shown considerable growth in its football infrastructure over the past decade. Launched in 2013, the Indian Super League (ISL) has played a pivotal role in boosting the profile of football in India. It has drawn foreign players and coaches while also creating a platform for Indian talent to thrive.

In Summary, regardless of India’s current FIFA world ranking standing at 99, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a deficiency in talent. Instead, it highlights the path ahead for the nation’s football development. With a growing football culture, increased youth participation, and significant efforts aimed at enhancing the football infrastructure, India is progressively carving out its niche in the sport.

football india ranking

Steps Towards Improvement for Football India Ranking

Football in India: An Emerging Contender

Football is gradually making a mark in a nation where cricket has dominated for years. Despite being a participant in the international football arena, India’s performance has largely been underwhelming. As per FIFA’s records, in October 2021, India occupied the 106th position in the world’s football rankings. However, it has improved to 99 as of August 2023. But ongoing efforts and a dedicated football community are set on improving this standing.

Government Initiatives to Improve Football in India

The Indian Government has recognized the need to improve the situation. They have established the Mission XI Million program, aimed at building a football culture in schools across India. This program aspires to introduce eleven million children to the game before the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has designated football as a priority sport, opening avenues for more funding and resources.

Role of All India Football Federation (AIFF)

Significant steps have been taken by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to revamp the football scenario in the country. AIFF has developed a strategic plan that includes comprehensive youth development programs, coach-education courses, and domestic competition structures. The launch of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2013, a professional football league, has played a crucial role in popularizing the sport in the country.

Collaborations and Partnerships for Football’s Development

The AIFF has also partnered with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to implement the Performance Assessment Tool. This aims to assess and increase the performance level of every aspect of football in India, from the grassroots to the professional level.

Private Entities and Investment in Football

Football in India has seen a rise in private investment. Many of these investors own teams participating in the Indian Super League, bringing in substantial financial support. Investing money, building top-notch facilities, and bringing in foreign coaches and players has greatly improved the skills of Indian players and the overall quality of the game in India.

Grassroots-Level Initiatives

To support football from the very start, the ‘Reliance Foundation Young Champs’ initiative gives scholarships to talented young players for top-notch training. This helps build a strong base of talent for future teams.

Despite progress in Indian football, becoming a global football contender is a tough journey.

The Future of Football in India: Football India Ranking

The Present-Day Outlook: A Look at Indian Football

Over the past decade, football in India has undergone significant transformations. In the past, cricket has overshadowed football in terms of popularity in India, but now, football is beginning to carve out its own dedicated following. The establishment of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2013 marked a turning point for Indian Football. A new league in India got a lot of money from important Indian business people and made deals with international clubs. This helps Indian teams and players get better. But, the national team’s FIFA ranking is still 104, which shows there’s more work to do to reach their goal.

Potential Growth: Expanding Football Culture in India

With a population of over 1.3 billion, the potential for football growth in India is immense. More funds are being invested in football infrastructure and youth development in India. The sport is gaining more fans in the country. With a large youth population, if they receive proper training and system improvements, they can become excellent players. Additionally, hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 boosted India’s reputation and potential as a future host, which could greatly impact the country’s football culture.

Onwards and Upwards: Climbing the FIFA Ranks

Increasing participation and better performance in international games are key factors that could propel India up the FIFA rankings. Although there has been progress, the main challenge is to create better domestic systems, youth programs, and scouting networks in Indian football. This will help India compete at a higher level. How well the Indian National Team does in the Asian Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and their ranking in the AFC are all important indicators for improving their standing in international football.

Future Predictions: Achieving Football Excellence

Many experts think India can become a big football country in the future. They believe that focusing on training young players, building top-notch facilities, and making long-term investments, rather than solely aiming for immediate victories, can lead to substantial improvement in Indian football. This approach emphasizes a more sustainable and promising future for the sport. This, coupled with the potential increase in viewership and public interest, can help drive India’s football journey forward. Thus, the road to enhancing India’s football ranking involves a multi-dimensional approach, focusing both on development at the ground level and performance at international levels.

Impact of Foreign Relations: International Partnerships and Exchanges

Building relations with foreign clubs and associations offers another avenue for improving India’s football status. Exchanges with teams from Europe and South America can benefit Indian players by providing exposure to advanced football cultures. These partnerships can lead to collaborations on training, development programs, and infrastructure, facilitating greater avenues for Indian football.


The future of Indian football looks bright as efforts are made to raise its standing on the global football scene. Football is winning the hearts and minds of people in India with its exciting aspects and possibilities. India stands on the edge of potentially huge growth in the sport. The future is full of promise, with some challenges but also chances to discover new talent and create a football platform that meets global standards.

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