India’s premier domestic football competition will see a return of representation from all four regions of the country. In the presence of Indian football stars, including former and current skipper of the Indian national football team Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu respectively, the All India Football Federation, (AIFF) launches the 10th edition of I-League on Tuesday amid much fanfare.
This season of India’s premier domestic football competition I-League, we will see a return of representation from all four regions of the country Mohun Bangan, East Bengal, Aizwal FC and Shillong Lajong from the East and North East respectively; Mumbai FC, DSK Shivajians and Churchil Brothers from the West; Bengaluru FC and Chennai City FC from the South and the debutants Minerva Punjab will bring the North back into top flight Indian football after a gap of five seasons.
After launching the tenth edition of the I-League, All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel said, “The 10 participating teams in the 10th edition of the Hero I-League are based from across the length and breadth of the country. I thank Hero MotoCorp for their support to the I-League and Indian football.
“The league is the unifying factor for the football fans in India as right from Aizwal FC in the North-East to Mumbai FC in Mumbai, and from Minerva City Punjab FC in Chandigarh to Chennai City FC in Chennai, the clubs represent pan India. The Hero I-League is the premiere league of the country through which teams participate in the AFC Cup and the AFC Champions League. I wish success to all the participating teams.”
And the AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “The competitive spirit of the I-League has been outstanding over the last few editions. The League witnessed a substantial increase of almost 40 percent in spectator attendance and here we are, prior to the kick off of the 10th edition, expecting the graph to further go up.”
He added, “This edition, the league has a pan India presence. I wish luck to all the teams. May the best team come out as the winner of the Hero I-League. Hero Motocorp has been providing extensive support for the promotion of Indian football and I thank them for their cooperation.”
The defending champions Bengaluru FC will host the six-month league on January 7 against the Northeast based club Shilong Lajong FC.