The 11 edition of the I-League was officially launched at a glittering ceremony, in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Hero I-League kicks off on November 25 and culminates on March 6, 2018. The first match will be between Minerva Punjab and Mohun Bagan, in Ludhiana, at 5:30 p.m..
The league this year sees the addition of three new teams: Gokulam Kerala FC (Calicut), Neroca FC (Imphal, Manipur) and Indian Arrows (New Delhi).
The 11th edition of the I-League will see the winner bag Rs. 1 crore in prize money, runner-up get Rs. 60 lakh, third-placed team earn Rs. 40 lakh, while the team finishing fourth will receive Rs. 25 lakh.
This edition will see the return of AIFF's developmental team, Indian Arrows that will call Delhi its home. India U-17 team head coach Luis Norton De Matos of Portugal would be its head coach. The team is a mix of India U-17 and India U-19 team players.
“This year is all about showcasing what the Hero I-League has been doing for years. Launching Indian football's future stars. History is testimony that the Hero I-League has laid the foundation for Indian football stars to go ahead and shine in their careers and make the country proud. The edition also pays special tribute to the coaches who create those stars with their dedication and commitment towards the beautiful game. We are happy to welcome Kerala back in the league and the return of I-League football to Delhi.
"I believe these new developments along with the clubs from north-east, West Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Goa, will make the league even more competitive and interesting. I would like to convey my best wishes to all the participating clubs of this year’s edition,” Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation. was quoted as saying in a press release.
Teams: Defending champion Aizawl FC (Mizoram), Neroca FC (Manipur), Shillong Lajong FC (Meghalaya), Mohun Bagan AC, Kingfisher East Bengal (West Bengal), Minerva Punjab (Punjab), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Churchill Brothers SC (Goa), Indian Arrows (Delhi), Chennai City FC (Chennai).