July 15 – Indian football plans to stage the coming season’s Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League at a single venue in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has intimated that Goa will likely stage the ISL and Kolkata might host the I-League next season. The ISL is due to kick off on November 21 with the I-League starting in December.
“The idea was to hold the tournaments at a single venue due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das. “So we have been looking at venues with multiple grounds and zeroed in on Kolkata and Goa. Since Kolkata will also host the Under-17 Women’s World Cup starting in February next year, the Salt Lake Stadium won’t be available for the preceding three months.”
“So hosting ISL in Kolkata was ruled out even though the leagues will continue during the World Cup. For the initial phase, fans won’t be allowed inside the stadium.”
The combination of a single venue and matches behind closed doors should ease logistics for league organisers. India has joined other countries and cities across the globe in re-imposing localised lockdowns following a sharp spike in the number of new coronavirus cases in the country.
“We are aiming to reduce the travelling aspect of players, support staff, referees and match officials,” explained Das. “All the teams will be accommodated in one or two hotels. That way, it will be easier for AIFF to conduct regular Covid-19 tests on all the personnel and keep a tab on them.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1596497373labto1596497373ofdlr1596497373owedi1596497373sni@o1596497373fni1596497373