Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) on Thursday announced that the opening match of the fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) has been shifted from Kolkata to Kochi.
The match which was scheduled to be played between defending champions ATK and Kerala Blasters will now be staged at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi. Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan has been given the right to host the final of the tournament.
The reverse game between the two sides which was scheduled to happen in Kerala on 8th February 2018 will now take place in Kolkata. Only the fixtures of these two matches have been altered with the remaining schedule remains as it is.
The official statement from FSDL read: "Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) today announced hosting the Hero Indian Super League 2017-18 final in Kolkata. As a result, the season opening game which as per the earlier fixture list was to be played at Kolkata on Friday, 17th November 2017 will now move to Kochi.
The decision has been taken post reviewing the grand success of Kolkata hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup final concluded recently. Hero ISL started its journey from Kolkata in October 2014 with a glamorous ceremony, the city of Kolkata for the first time will play host to the Hero ISL grand finale on Saturday, 17th March 2018.
The reverse game between Kerala Blasters FC vs ATK earlier scheduled in Kochi will now be played in Kolkata on same day, i.e. Friday 9th February, 2018."
The ISL 2016 final was held in Kochi last year where the Kolkata side got the better of the Blasters in a penalty shootout to lift the trophy for the second time in three seasons. Kochi becomes the fourth city to host the opening match of ISL after Kolkata (2014), Chennai (2015), Guwahati (2016).