The domestic leagues will be extended apart from two cup competitions.
The last India Super League (ISL) season saw a quick and shortened format of the country’s premier football league. However, with a nine-month calendar, things will be returning to normal and closer to what other leagues in the world are like. The Indian football season will include two cup competitions and a more extended ISL season.
According to a report by the Times of India, the season is set to begin with the Durand Cup on August 13. It was a massive success last season and this time around there will be 20 teams participating – 11 from the ISL, the top five I-League teams and four from the organizers, the Indian Armed Forces. The tournament final is scheduled to be played on September 24.
Following the Durand Cup, the teams are expected to start training for the ISL, which is reported to be played from October 6 to March 18. The matches are likely to be played on weekends in a ploy to boost the attendance numbers. ISL organisers told the various club CEOs that the calendar will be expanded in order to host the Durand Cup before the ISL season and after that the Super Cup.
A source told TOI, “The ISL will include 11 teams and 20 league games. Besides, there will be a minimum of four games in the Durand Cup and another four in the Super Cup.”
Both the Cup competitions have been given the all-clear from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as they are compliant with the entry manual guidelines, which require a minimum of 27 matches over eight months.
The Super Cup is scheduled to be played after the ISL season is over with 20 clubs set to participate, including 11 from the ISL and nine from the I-League. It is scheduled to be played from April 1 to May 14.
The league informed ISL club CEOs that, “The Indian football calendar is being shifted from a shorter event to a more normalized calendar to bring it in line with football leagues all over the world.”