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I-League to commence in Kolkata in mid-Dec, says AIFF

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New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is planning to organise the Hero I-League this season in Kolkata with the scheduled start tentatively fixed in mid-December.

“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 organise the League in Kolkata and its suburbs like the last edition,” I-League CEO Sunando Dhar said during the AIFF League Committee’s meeting held virtually on Saturday.

Dhar said the I-League this season will be a 13-team affair, with the number of matches to go up from the previous edition’s 80 to 114.

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“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 seven teams, the bottom half which will be battling it out for the relegation will have six teams,” Dhar said, adding: “The number of matches will also be more in this edition — a rise from 80 to 114.”

The committee said in a statement that “under the circumstances, and considering the possibility of a third wave, this is the best option”.

The panel also decided that the relegation rule will be applied to the I-League 2021/22 irrespective of the current situation.

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“The Committee agreed that keeping in view the circumstances and the logistical and financial feasibility, 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,” said the AIFF statement.

A decision on the 2020/21 edition of the Indian Women’s League (IWL), which was postponed due to the second wave of the pandemic, will be taken after discussing the issue with Odisha Sports, the hosts of the final round of the IWL.

–IANS

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