ISL 2021: Big change in timings with ISL set to attempt late-evening weekend kick-offs – The Indian Super League (ISL) will adopt a late-evening kick-off when the new season begins in November. While the fixtures have not been revealed, it is believed that the league will introduce a 9:30 pm kick-off time for its weekend double-headers. It will mark the first time that a late-evening kick-off will be attempted in the ISL in seven years since its existence.
PTI has reliably learnt that ISL, organised and promoted by Football Sports Development Limited, for the first time in its seven-year history will attempt late-evening weekend kick-offs. “The league had informed clubs on the possible change to the weekend double-header start,” confirmed an ISL club source.
“From players’ point of view, the 9:30 pm (kick-off) will be a much-welcomed decision as it will bring respite from the sweltering humidity,” the source added.
While the regular weekday fixture will be a 7:30 pm start, the double-headers on weekends, which until last season were a 5:30 pm feature, will now move to a 9:30 pm start. “The league is likely to announce 2021-22 fixture by early next week,” informed another source while confirming the change in the weekend double-header.
ISL had caught the imagination of Indian fans and the global football industry as a viable league in the cricket dominated nation.
Introduced in 2014 as a short 11-week event, ISL has over the years gained massive momentum in popularising the sport across India, bringing in transformational changes to the format and competition and earning itself the country’s premier football league status. ISL now runs from November to March, with an increase in the number of matches to 115 involving 11 clubs.
Early this March, the league had earned accolades for being the first live sports event to commence (in the Covid era), and successfully complete a five-month long competition in a bio-secure bubble in Goa. The league has selected Goa to conduct the upcoming 2021-22 season commencing November 19. The tournament will be held behind close doors at three stadiums until March 2022.