There’s some exciting news for the Indian football fans as the I-League 2022-23 season is all set to kick off on December 12. This season will also mark the return of the home-away format after the last two seasons were held in West Bengal owing to Covid-19 restrictions.
Last year’s finalists Gokulam Kerala FC and Mohammedan Sporting will lock horns in the opening fixture of the season at the Payyanad Stadium in Kerala. Gokulam will be aiming for a hat-trick of titles this time, which will also make them the first team to do so in the history of the I-League.
The only other team to win consecutive domestic titles is East Bengal in 2002-03 and 2003-04. It was known as the National Football League (NFL) back then.
This is going to be the 16th edition of the league and will see 12 teams — Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC, Mumbai Kenkre, Mohammedan Sporting, NEROCA, Punjab FC, Rajasthan United, Real Kashmir, Sreenidi Deccan, Sudeva Delhi and TRAU — featuring in it.
The Indian Arrows team, which was a developmental team run by the AIFF, will not be featuring in this season as they dissolved the project earlier this year.
As far as the venues go, 3 stadiums will be seen making their debut this season. The Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar will play host to Real Kashmir whereas the Chhatrasal Stadium and Deccan Arena in New Delhi and Hyderabad will be the home venue for Sudeva Delhi FC and Sreenidi Deccan FC respectively.
The other venues picked as the home grounds for the other I-League teams are:
Cooperage in Mumbai – Kenkre FC
Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi – Rajasthan United FC
Kishore Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata – Mohammedan Sporting
Bambolim Stadium, Goa – Churchill Brothers
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl – Aizawl FC
Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkhula – Roundglass Punjab FC
Khuman Lampak Stadium – NEROCA FC ans TRAU FC