Second Division I-League likely to be held in October second week

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is all set to conduct the final round of the I-League Second Division 2019-20 season around October 8 and complete it before the Durga Puja festival begins in Kolkata, Goal can confirm.

It will be a five-team affair and the organisers are looking to wrap up the event within 10-11 days of resumption, before the festive dates kick in.

The Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal will start on October 21 and will end on October 26. 

Initially, the Indian FA had plans of conducting the league by the third week of September but has now decided to defer it by a month, given the government regulations allow training to start from September 21.

AIFF's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Leagues Sunando Dhar did a recce of the available stadiums in the state. He has already checked the facilities at the Kalyani Stadium and Howrah Stadium.

The AIFF, this season, has decided to host the I-League and the Second Division in West Bengal as the centralised venue due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Mohammedan Sporting training

The Second Division League had come to a halt after the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March due to the pandemic. The group stages of the Second Division League were stopped before completion and the top six teams were selected for the final round from the group tables. Unfortunately, FC Kerala had decided to withdraw from the competition.

This season, two clubs from Kolkata, Mohammedan Sporting and Bhowanipore FC will take part in the final round of the league. Other than these two outfits, the other three participants are ARA FC (Gujarat), Garhwal FC (Delhi) and FC Bengaluru United (Karnataka).

The Indian Football Association (IFA), the governing body of football in West Bengal, had already prepared five to six venues for the two leagues. The stadiums which are likely to be used by the AIFF are the Kalyani Stadium, Howrah Stadium, Rabindra Sarobar Stadium and the Barasat Stadium.

The refurbishment process of the Kishore Bharati Stadium in Kolkata is also in progress and if it is completed in time, then it could also be considered as a possible venue. The iconic Salt Lake Stadium, though, will not be used as it is one of the six venues for the U17 Women’s World Cup.