The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has decided to schedule the entire I-league season in Kolkata. If the pandemic permits then the league may start from mid-December involving 13 teams in total.
The decision was taken in the AIFF League Committee meeting which was chaired by Mr. Subrata Dutta, vice president of AIFF. The league last season was also held in Kolkata and was well managed. Therefore League CEO Sunando Dhar revealed that the upcoming season will be held in Kolkata again as talks have begun with the Indian Football Association (Bengal) and the West Bengal government for another smooth league experience.
Dhar also clarified that the I-league season will have 13 teams and will follow the same format as last season. In the last season, the teams first played a single game against each other and then they were divided into groups. The top seven will fight for the title while the bottom six will look to survive relegation.
Dhar also added that the number of games this season will be increased from 84 to 114, which is a positive sign for the players. The I-League qualifiers will be held ahead of the main league and the tournament will see a maximum of 10 teams. The teams will be nominated by the State Associations and will only be approved by the AIFF on sporting merit and club licensing criteria. Each of the state associations may only nominate two teams to fight it out in the qualifiers.
Subrata Dutta opened the meeting with a speech, where he highlighted how just like last season this will also be a hit. He said, “Under the current situation it is pertinent for all stakeholders including the players to stay fit not just physically, but also stay mentally fit. Last year we organised a number of events very successfully, and this year we would really like to organise more, the pandemic situation permitting.”
The Committee also cleared the air that there will be no exemption after the 2021/21 season. The Committee will also come to a decision to organize the Indian Women’s League which was supposed to be played now after it got postponed following the second wave of covid-19. A detailed discussion with Odisha Sports will be held soon to complete the Indian Women’s League final round.