I-League is expected to kick off on January 7, 2021, Goal understands.
The competition was earlier scheduled to start after Christmas but after consultation with the West Bengal government, the start of the competition has been postponed to the first week of January.
This season, 11 teams will participate in the upcoming edition of the I-League. Sudeva FC and Mohammedan Sporting are the two new entrants.
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Mohammedan clinched promotion to the I-League, after an unbeaten run in the recently concluded I-League qualifiers after a hiatus of seven years. Whereas, Sudeva from New Delhi earned a direct entry the league after going through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process opened up by the AIFF (All India Football Federation).
The rest of the teams are Real Kashmir FC, Punjab FC, Chennai City FC, Gokulam Kerala, Churchill Brothers, Indian Arrows, NEROCA, Aizawl FC, and TRAU.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming season is set to undergo a major overhaul, with the AIFF set to shorten the season.
Instead of the usual format where a team plays every other team twice, this time around the tournament will be divided into two stages.
A total of 80 matches will be played during the upcoming I-League season, with 11 teams set to play each other just once in the first phase.
After the first phase, the top five teams will be grouped together where they will play for the championship while the bottom six teams will be grouped in a battle to stave off relegation. In the second stage, the teams will face all teams in their group once.