Fixtures for first 11 rounds of the ISL released.
The fixtures for the opening 11 rounds of the 2021/22 season of the Indian Super League were announced by the Football Sports Development Limited on Monday.
Fixtures for ISL matches till January 9, 2022, have been released with the Indian football scene ready to get underway from November 19 later this year.
The season, once again, like last year’s edition, will be held completely in Goa, with matches taking place across three stadiums in Goa – at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the GMC Athletic Stadium and Tilak Maidan Stadium. Given the success of the tournament last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers have decided to stick to the tried and tested method that saw the entire tournament played out without any stoppages or postponements due to COVID.
The season starts with a blockbuster clash between last season’s runners-up ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters (who finished 10th) on November 19 at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda while defending champions Mumbai City FC get their campaign underway on November 22 against FC Goa at the same stadium. The country’s biggest derby, the clash between ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, is scheduled for November 27 at Tilak Maidan Stadium.
This season will see a shift in match timings as the weekday matches are scheduled for a 19:30 IST start, but the double-headers on weekends will see the second match start at a later time of 21:30 IST; last season it was 17:30 IST and 19:30 IST respectively.
The season will also see a change in the team format which will allow teams to sign a maximum of six foreigners compared to seven from last season and field a maximum of four foreigners on the pitch during a game. Clubs will also have the opportunity to increase their squad strength to 35 given the bio-bubbles they will live in, and could have injury replacements for their Indian players which will not be included in the squad strength of 35.
This 2021/22 season is set to have 115 games played among the 11 teams. The remaining 60 fixtures for the rest of the season will be announced in December later this year.