The All India Football Association's (AIFF) Indian Arrows outfit will be based from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha for the upcoming I-League season, Goal can confirm. This would mean that there will not be any I-League matches in Delhi.
"We will be shifting to Bhubaneshwar so we will be based in Odisha. We will be playing our home matches at the Kalinga stadium," Arrows head coach Floyd Pinto revealed.
"I think there is an agreement in place between the AIFF (All India Football Federation) and the Odisha government who are keen to get involved with the AIFF youth teams," he added.
The provisional fixtures of the I-League 2018-19 season have been announced where the Arrows will be opening their campaign in an away match against Chennai City FC on October 26, before they host Shillong Lajong in their first home game on November 5.
"Somehow or the other you need some practice matches in Bhubaneshwar. It is near to Kolkata and Jamshedpur. So we might go there and play some matches. The I-League schedule is out. So we will keep it pretty spaced out for us to recover, rest and play each match," Pinto stated.
During the Hockey World Cup 2018 (from 28 Nov to 16 Dec), the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneshwar will be unavailable and they will be playing from the Barabati stadium in Cuttack.
The Indian Arrows have so far come up against the likes of Chennaiyin FC (2-1 loss and 0-0 draw), FC Goa (2-1 loss) and FC Pune City (1-1 draw) as part of their pre-season in Goa with the I-League side's coach stressing how beneficial it was to face the ISL teams.
"Chennaiyin also were in Goa so they asked us (for practice matches) in advance. We were also on our way back from our trips to Croatia and Serbia. Even FC Goa had the same idea - they also wanted a practice match before the ISL.
"We also usually don't play (against) an I-League team in the pre-season. So it made sense to play the ISL teams," he pointed out.
As the ISL has gone into a break, FC Pune City have requested the Arrows for another friendly match after which the I-League team will be shifting to their new base.
"We play FC Pune City on the coming Saturday (October 13). Then we come back and head to Bhubaneshwar. We played against them (Pune) here. So they were happy with that and wanted to play another game during the (international) break. It's one more game for us also before the I-League," Pinto regarded.