I-League 2021-22 to be held in Kolkata: Everything you need to know

AIFF Media

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) League Committee, on Saturday, has decided that the I-League 2021-22 season will be held at Kolkata.

Due to the prolonged Coronavirus pandemic situation, the tournament will be held behind closed doors with teams having to stay in a bio-bubble for the entire duration of the I-League. The I-League Qualifiers will also be held at a single venue.

Contents:

  1. I-League 2021-22: Number of teams
  2. I-League 2021-22 teams
  3. I-League 2021-22 format
  4. When will the I-League 2021-22 start?
  5. Will I-League 2021-22 have relegation?
  6. Who are the defending champions?
     

How many teams will participate in 2021-22 I-League?

The 2021-22 season of the I-League will feature 13 teams in total. After Sudeva Delhi FC joined the league via direct entry last season, Sreenidhi FC will join as the new team via direct entry this season.

As Goal had reported earlier, with the scrapping of relegation for last season, NEROCA FC will continue to be part of the tournament. The 13th team will be decided via the I-League Qualifiers comprising of a maximum of 10 teams.

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I-League 2021-22 teams

Aizawl FC, Chennai City, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala, Indian Arrows, Mohammedan Sporting, NEROCA FC, Real Kashmir, TRAU FC, Sreenidhi FC, Sudeva Delhi, Punjab FC, Winner of I-League Qualifiers.

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I-League 2021-22 format

All the 13 teams will face each other once in the first leg of the league and after that, they will be divided into two different groups. The top half on the league table comprising of seven teams will face each other to decide the winner, while the bottom half with the remaining six teams will play against each other in a one-leg league format.

The team from the top seven sides with maximum points (cumulative points collected from the 18 matches they play) will be the champions.

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When will the I-League 2021-22 start?

"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, League CEO Sunando Dhar mentioned.

The Committee approved Bengaluru as the venue for the qualifiers to be held in September 2021.

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Will I-League 2021-22 have relegation?

The Committee announced that the relegation rule will be applied to the I-League 2021-22, irrespective of the pandemic situation, and there won’t be any change in the regulation once the competition begins.

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Who are the defending champions of the I-League?

Gokulam Kerala got the better of TRAU FC 4-1 in the final match of the season to lift the 2020-21 I-League trophy.

The southern outfit finished the league at the top of the table with 29 points from 15 matches. They won nine games, drew two and lost in four matches during the season.

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With the win, the Malabarians have also secured an automatic slot in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2022.

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