I-League 2021-22 to 'tentatively' start in mid-December, to be held in Kolkata

The relegation rule will be applied irrespective of the current situation, which is certainly controversial in nature.

It will be interesting to note the team that emerges victorious in the upcoming edition of I-League. (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 2021-22 edition of the I-League will be held in Kolkata, with the tournament set to be conducted among 13 teams this season. The relegation of franchises will continue to be applied irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic. A maximum of 10 teams will be participating in the I-League qualifiers which are proposed to be held at a single venue. The committee approved Bengaluru as the venue for the qualifiers to be held in September 2021.

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. States who 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.

These decisions were taken in an AIFF League Committee Meeting held via video conferencing today (June 26, 2021). Subrata Dutta, Senior Vice President, All India Football Federation, and Chairman, League Committee chaired the meeting. AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, League CEO Sunando Dhar, Souter Vaz, Lalnghinglova Hmar, Anil Kumar, Chirag Tanna and Rochak Langer attended the meeting.

“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,” said Dutta.

Format of I-league to be the same as the last edition

Dhar stated that a tentative date of mid-December was being considered for conducting the league.

“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. The number of matches will also be more this edition – a rise from 80 to 114,” he said.

“We are looking at a tentative date of mid-December onwards for kicking-off the Hero 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,” added Dhar.

Decision on Indian Women’s League to be taken soon

A decision on the 2020-21 edition of the Indian Women’s League which had to be postponed due to the second wave of the pandemic will be taken soon. The final move will be confirmed following detailed discussions with Odisha Sports, the hosts of the final round of the league.

An Indian club is set to feature in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021, which is a pilot tournament being implemented by the Asian Football Confederation. The champions of the Indian Women’s League will be granted entry to the Championship. In case the league is not held due to COVID-19, the champions of the previous edition will participate in the AFC Championship.

There were discussions also conducted with regard to hosting the Futsal Club Championship in October 2021 in Shillong adhering to all health parameters.

“We are also making it mandatory for all players, officials, and all operational and administrative staff across all Leagues and championships to get themselves fully vaccinated prior to the kick-off. However, we do understand that there will be players less than 18 years of age who may be participating, along with players/officials who are recovering from Covid and may not have got a chance to vaccinate themselves. In that case, all of them would be subjected to more RTPCR tests than the others,” concluded Dhar.

Sportslumo Desk

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