August 17 – Goa will be the central venue for the 2020 Indian Super League, organisers have announced.
The ISL has ten franchises spread across the vast subcontinent with teams as far east as North East United in Guwahati, Assam. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the already complicated logistics of the league and tournament organisers have decided to centralise this season’s matches in Goa to reduce traveling and minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.
“Keeping in mind the safety and well-being of players, participants, staff members and fans amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) has decided to host the upcoming Hero ISL season across three stadiums in the state of Goa,” said an ISL statement.
The league will likely kick off in November amid a strict medical protocol, the new bread and butter of any sports events staged in coronavirus times. Organisers had also contemplated hosting the league in Kerala, a state that has received widespread praise for largely containing the spread of the virus, but ultimately they picked Goa.
The ISL’s decision mirrors the move of the All India Football Federation to centralise the matches of the I-League in Kolkata.
In Goa, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Tilak Nagar Stadium and the GMC Athletic Stadium will all stage matches. This season ATK Mohun Bagan will feature in the ISL. The Kolkata giants previously played in the I-League, but have left the rivalry with cross-town enemies East Bengal behind to merge with ATK and play in the franchise-based league.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601086975labto1601086975ofdlr1601086975owedi1601086975sni@o1601086975fni1601086975