The 13th edition of the I-League, despite having lost the status of India’s premier professional club football league, will start with the consolation of an assured broadcast for all the matches as 11 teams engage in a fierce battle of supremacy from November 30.
In a first, fans from across the country, this season will witness two local derbies – the legendary Kolkata derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, and the Imphal derby featuring Neroca FC and TRAU FC.
The All India Football Federation has officially launched the league from Thursday. Mohun Bagan FC and Aizawl FC will be playing the tournament opener at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl, Mizoram.
The league will feature 11 teams this season, with the induction of TRAU FC, winners of the Hero Second division last season.
The Hero I–League has witnessed many a fairy-tale in recent years with underdogs such as Aizawl FC, Minerva Punjab FC (now Punjab FC) and Chennai City FC winning the previous three editions. The 12th edition debutants Real Kashmir also created a flutter and were the title contenders at one-point.
The 13th edition of the Hero I-League 2019-20 will be broadcast live exclusively on DSPORT.
The tournament will offer a total prize purse of ₹ 2.25 crore: Here is the break up:
Winners: ₹1 Crore
Runners up: ₹60 Lakh
Third Place: ₹Lakh
Fourth Place: ₹25 Lakh.
“We are very happy to welcome TRAU FC to the 13th edition of the Hero I-League. The pan India presence has been the unique feature of the league in the last few editions, and is a true testimony to the manner it has played a critical role in spreading the game to all corners of the country,” said AIFF president Praful Patel.
Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, added, “Over the years the Hero I-League has been scouting and providing a platform for future stars of Indian Football. In the 13th edition this year we have 11 teams from eight states and one Union Territory fighting for the top honours. I wish luck to all the participating teams.”
The Teams: Defending Champions Chennai City FC (Chennai), Punjab FC (Punjab), Aizawl FC (Mizoram), NEROCA FC (Manipur), TRAU FC (Manipur), Mohun Bagan & Quess East Bengal (West Bengal), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Churchill Brothers FC Goa (Goa), Indian Arrows (Goa), and Real Kashmir FC (Kashmir).