June 29 – Kolkata will stage the 2021-22 I-League the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced, in a move designed to head off the possibility of a third coronavirus wave in India cancelling the competition.
This will be the second consecutive season the league will be staged behind closed doors. Last season, West Bengal also played host to the I-League with Gokulam Kerala winning the crown.
With the pandemic still raging across India, theAIFF has settled on a similar approach this season, with Salt Lake Stadium, the flagship venue of the 2017 U-17 World Cup, Kalyani Stadium, Kishorebharti Stadium and the stadium of Mohun Bagan all shortlisted as host venues in Kolkata.
This season the I-League will expand to 13 clubs with both Sreenidhi FC from Visakhapatnam and the winners of the I-League qualifiers, to be staged in Bangalore, completing the playing field. The 13 clubs will play each other once before the top seven teams compete for the league crown andvAFC Cup qualification.
The AIFF however has not decided on the fate of the 2020-21 Indian Women’s League (IWL), which Odisha was due to host. In case the IWL won’t be held, the league’s current champions Gokulam Kerala FC will represent India in the second edition of the AFC Women’s Club Championship in 2022.
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