I-League 2021-22 season to be held in Kolkata

The next season of the I-League will again be held in its entirety in Kolkata, according to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

I-League

The new season of I-League will be competed amongst 13 clubs.   -  I-League

The next season of the I-League will again be held in its entirety in Kolkata, according to the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

The 2020-21 season was held between February-April when Gokulam Kerala went on to win its maiden title.

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Sunando Dhar apprised the AIFF League Committee that the I-League will be played among 13 teams this season as compared to 12 from last season. “We are looking at a tentative date of mid-December onwards for kicking off the I-League. We are in talks with the Indian Football Association (Bengal), and also the Government of West Bengal to successfully organise the League in Kolkata and its suburbs like the last edition,” Dhar said.

“The format of the League will be the same as the last edition with all teams playing each other once, and then divided into two groups. While the top half vying for the Championship will comprise 7 teams, the bottom half which will be battling it out for the relegation will have 6 teams,” he added. “The number of matches will also be more this edition – a rise from 80 to 114.”

The Committee agreed that under the circumstances, and considering the possibility of a third wave, this is the best option, and approved the venue and the format.

The Committee also deliberated at length and felt that the relegation rule will be applied to the I-League 2021-22 irrespective of the current situation, and there won’t be any change in the regulation once the League kicks off.

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A maximum of 10 teams will be participating in the I-League Qualifiers which are proposed to be held at a single venue in Bengaluru in September.

State Associations are to nominate a maximum of two teams out of which one team will be selected by the League department based on sporting merit and the club licensing criteria. The criteria for selection will be communicated.

States which have conducted a League, or have conducted a qualifying championship to nominate the teams for Qualifiers, will be eligible to nominate teams for the I-League Qualifiers.

Furthermore, a decision on the 2020-21 edition of the Indian Women’s League, which had to be postponed owing to the second wave of the pandemic, will be taken soon after detailed discussions with Odisha Sports, the host of the final round of the IWL.

With an Indian club set to feature in the AFC Women's Club Championship 2021 -- a pilot tournament being implemented by the Asian Football Confederation -- the champion of the IWL will be granted an entry to the Championship. However, in case the IWL cannot be held owing to the pandemic situation, the champion of the previous edition will participate in the AFC Championship.

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