The 14th edition of Hero I-League is finally set to begin on January 9, 2021. The choice of the date comes at the request of a few I-League clubs that wanted the start of the league to be moved from the third week of December as previously planned.
All the teams participating in the tournament are required to enter the bio-secure bubble 14 days before their first match to fulfill the pandemic protocols. The schedule for the tournament will be announced soon and it will be telecasted on 1Sports.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous edition of the second-tier league was suspended. The football action resumed in India through the I-League Qualifier in October this year. The West Bengal government and Indian Football Association (IFA) joined hands with the AIFF to organize the qualifiers successfully.
Mr. Sunanda Dhar, CEO of I-League, lauded the Government of West Bengal as well as IFA for the unconditional support to stage the tournaments without any fuss.
Dhar said, “Hero I-League Qualifier was a stage rehearsal for the next edition of Hero I-League as it’ll be a longer and more challenging tournament from every single aspect. We’ll work with them hand in hand to make it a grand success and we’re confident to pull it off successfully.”
All eleven teams will face each other once in the first leg of the league before they are divided into two different groups. The top six teams will face each other once again to decide the winner whereas the other five teams will play against each other in a one-leg league format. The team with maximum cumulative points will be the winner of Hero I-League 2020-21.
The I-League management is set to follow protocols that will make sure coronavirus does not spread to either the players or the staff of any team. The protocols have gone so far as to provide separate elevators for players in addition to dining halls within hotels.
The entire tournament will be hosted adhering to the COVID-19 SOPs released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and no spectator will be allowed inside a stadium during league games.