The Hero I-League 2021-22 season will start again on March 3 in Kolkata after a short break to ensure the safety of all players and officials involved in the league.
The competition will be played from the safety of a bio-bubble, which will start on February 20, with the players and officials having to travel through three negative RT-PCR tests before participating in the bubble. In addition, each player will also be required to perform a 12 lead ECG prior to arrival.
Once in the bio-bubble, each individual must serve 7 days in quarantine, during which three more tests are performed. Upon receiving three negative quarantined RT-PCR tests, players and officials will be free to operate from the bubble and attend training sessions, meals, team meetings and matches.
Held @ILeagueOfficial 2021-22 to resume on March 3
– Hero I-League (@ILeagueOfficial) February 1, 2022
“We had stopped the league first because we wanted to ensure the safety of the players and officials involved, and did not want COVID-19 to spread,” said Sunando Dhar, CEO of AIFF Leagues.
“Now, after getting the approval of the relevant authorities and a go-ahead from the doctor, we feel that, with the positivity rates down, this is the best time to start the season again,” he added.
“I have been in contact with all the clubs, and they have all expressed their excitement, and look forward to the breakthrough,” he concluded.
There will be no change in format for the league, with the 13 teams playing against each other once in a round-robin format, in the first round. Once the first round is over, the teams will be divided into two groups – Group A will consist of the top seven teams that will compete for the championship title, while Group B will consist of the bottom six teams that will be embroiled in a degradation battle. Each club will play their opponents in their respective groups once in a round-robin format, in the second round.
The matches are played at three locations – Kalyani Municipal Stadium, Naihati Stadium, and the Mohun Bagan Ground.