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India I league
The National Football League was founded in 1996 by the umbrella organization All India Football Federation (AIFF) and was the first "semi-professional" football league in India. The league was renamed and restructured, and the I League was formed in 2006 after India's former top league, the National Football League, was dissolved to improve the game in India. Links to non-I-League clubs have been maintained, and each season the two lowest clubs are relegated to the I-League and replaced by two from the I-League 2nd Division. The I-League is currently played between 11 clubs. The Kolkata Derby in the I League (and other tournaments) held between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is one of the world's heaviest rivalries (on the FIFA website) and one of the world's oldest derbies (90 years). An average of 80,000 to 100,000 fans crowd in this special stadium.
Until the 21st century, Indian football fans were mainly based in West Bengal, Northeast India, Goa and Kerala. Apart from the games at the Asian Games, the Nehru Cup or the SAFF Championship, fewer fans appeared in the history of the team because fans in Europe or South America were not organized under a single banner. Fans of various local clubs supported the team in their respective venues, but were not united for one reason, the national team, until 'Blue Pilgrims' was founded in 2017 as the first organized fan club for the national team.
The Blue Pilgrims formed with the motive to support the national team and the U-17 national team during the historic 2017 U17 World Cup, India's first FIFA competition. Starting with 300 odd fans, they are now in their thousands when an association of fans from different regions with different loyalties came together for just one thing, the Blue Tigers. They call themselves the supporters of the Blue Tigers and their motto is to support Indian national football teams of every gender and age, wherever they play, and for this commitment, they are referred to as the 12th man in the team.
The 3D Blue Tiger Tifo by Blue Pilgrims in June 2018-The most common songs of the Blue Pilgrims are: "Oh, if the blues invade, I want to be in this number!" and "Hum honge kaamyab" (We will overcome). Since its foundation, the Blue Pilgrims have been clapping with national team members after every match with Viking. Fans of the Indian national team show the country's tri-color national flag and also wear the blue jerseys as part of the team. The blue pilgrims show their banner together with "Inquilab-e-Indian football" (revolution of Indian football)). On June 2, 2018, Captain Sunil Chhetri released a video on social media in which he urged the fan to come after a poor attendance of only 2569 in a game against Chinese Taipei in the Intercontinental Cup 2018 in Mumbai to support the team a massive 5-0 win where Chhetri scored a hat-trick but few people to celebrate. In response to the captain's call, the Blue Pilgrims and football fans ensured that the stadiums would be full in the next games. At the end of this tournament, the Blue Pilgrims showed a 30-foot 3D tiger of a Blue Tiger, the first in the team's history.
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