2020-21 Indian Super League season: Starting date, teams, venues and all you need to know!

ISL trophy
The seventh edition of the league will start in the third week of November...

The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is scheduled to start in less than a month.

This time around, there is a lot of interest in the league which will see several changes from the previous edition, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic in no small part. 

Last season's final was forced to be held behind closed doors in Goa after the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. And season seven is set to start from the same point. The entire seventh edition will be held in Goa, cutting back on all the travel and related arrangements for the teams. 

Moreover, the matches will be held without spectators and the teams will have to be in a bio-secure bubble, given the spread of Covid-19 throughout the world. 

The teams have already started their pre-season in tough circumstances in Goa and will be looking to get themselves in shape with very little time left for the start of the tournament. 

Interestingly, the biggest change will be the entry of the two Kolkata giants - Mohun Bagan and East Bengal into the tournament. It will ramp up interest in the ISL and its popularity in the football-mad state of West Bengal. 

So, when exactly is the ISL starting and what are the changes for this season? 

ISL 2020-21 starting date

ISL has officially announced that the 2020-21 season will start on November 20, 2020. 

First game will see defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan take on Kerala Blasters. Click here to see the complete list of fixtures.

How many teams will participate in 2020-21 ISL?

ISL used to have 10 teams from the 2017-18 season but from the 2020-21 season, it will feature 11 teams in total. 

This is after the entry of the two Kolkata giants - East Bengal and Mohun Bagan - into the ISL. While Mohun Bagan merged with reigning champions ATK to become ATK Mohun Bagan, East Bengal made their entry as 'SC East Bengal' after Shree Cement Ltd came on board as their investors. 

Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 teams

Team Highlight
ATK Mohun Bagan Defending Champions, 3-time winners (2014, 2016, 2019-20)
Chennaiyin FC 2-time winners (2015, 2017-18)
Bengaluru FC 2018-19 winners
Kerala Blasters FC 2-time finalists (2014, 2016)
NorthEast United FC Play-off appearance in 2018-19
Odisha FC Play-off appearance in 2015 and 2016
FC Goa  2-time finalists (2015, 2018-19). League Stage Shield Winners in 2019-20
Jamshedpur FC Part of ISL since 2017-18
Mumbai City FC Play-off appearance in 2016 and 2018-19
Hyderabad FC Part of ISL from 2019-20 
SC East Bengal New entrants

ISL 2020-21 venues

The 2020-21 season of the ISL will be played at three different venues. 

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, the Tilak Nagar Stadium in Vasco da Gama, and the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim are the three venues set to host the games. The first game of the season is expected to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda. 

There are 12 training pitches allotted to the teams. Click here to know more about them.

Where are the teams undergoing pre-season?

All teams are undergoing their pre-season in Goa this time around, given the challenges Covid-19 has thrown up.

However, Bengaluru FC are doing their pre-season training at their Vijayanagar base in Karnataka and are expected to arrive in Goa in time to complete the quarantine protocols and enter the bio-secure bubble for the competition. 

What are bio-secure bubble protocols for ISL 2020-21?

 ISL has laid out guidelines for smooth conducting of the upcoming edition while observing social distancing protocols which would prioritise the players' health and safety.

Click here to know all the details about these protocols and measures that the teams and players must follow.