New Delhi: The new season of much-awaited Indian Super League will start from November 20. This is the seventh season of the ISL which will run till March 2021.
The first match will be played between defending champions Atletico De Kolkata (ATK) Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters.
Since six years, the ISL was lacking two biggest clubs in the Indian football, but this year both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have joined the competition.
The two football clubs Mohun Bagan and ATK merged together to play this season as ATK Mohun Bagan. Meanwhile, Kolkata club’s arch-rival East Bengal will also make their debut in the tournament as SC East Bengal.
Eleven teams will fight against each other to win the title and would also qualify for the continental tournaments in AFC Champions League and AFC Cup.
Keeping the pandemic in mind, the organisers had decided to conduct all matches in Goa. All the matches will be played behind closed doors and the players have to remain under bio-secure bubbles.
The matches will be played at three venues: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda; GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim; and Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco.
This year, there will be a total of 115 matches which is 20 more than the previous season. The teams will play in a ‘home’ and ‘away’ round-robin format and the top four sides will qualify for the playoffs.
The players in each team can make five substitutions instead of three. The teams can make the five substitutions at most three intervals.
The teams are also given the option of signing a minimum of five and maximum seven foreign players. Also, it is mandatory to include at least one foreign player affiliated with Asian Football Confederation in the squad. Maximum number of 35 players can be registered in a team.
The first match will be held at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. The organisers have released the first 11 rounds of fixtures till 11 January 202. The ISL will also feature six double-headers which will be played on Sundays.
In Vasco, the first Kolkata derby between old rivals will be played on 27 November. FC Goa which finish at the top of the league table last season, will begin their match against Bengaluru FC in Fatorda on 22 November.