The 2020-2021 I-league season will kick off on January 9, the All India Football Federation has announced.
The I-League’s previous season was ended abruptly because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, but the I-League qualifiers were held in October.
The announcement on the kick-off date of the 14th edition of Hero I-League was made on Saturday.
All participating 11 teams will be placed in a bio-secure bubble 14 days before the first match.
All matches will be played in West Bengal behind closed doors after a successful I-League qualifier organized by the West Bengal government and Indian Football Association (IFA).
Sunando Dhar, the CEO of Leagues of the India Football Association, lauded all stakeholders’ unconditional support in arranging the tournament without issues.
“We can’t thank government of West Bengal and IFA enough for their unconditional support to hosting the Hero I-League Qualifier this year. Without their support, we couldn’t even think of hosting the tournament smoothly, Hero I-League Qualifier was a stage rehearsal for the next edition of Hero I-League as it’ll be a longer and more challenging tournament from every single aspect. We’ll work with them hand in hand to make it a grand success and we’re confident to pull it off successfully,” Dhar said.
There will be two stages to the 2020-2021 I-League season, with the first stage seeing all 11 teams facing each other before a second stage that will have all teams divided into two groups.
All matches will be played in strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines as no fans will be allowed into the stadiums.
Mohammedan Sporting Club and Sudeva FC are the newly promoted teams into the I-League after Mohun Bagan, and East Bengal left to join the India Super League. The former merged with ATK while the latter secured investment from Shree Cement Limited.
Written by: Daniel Ademiju Idowu