The I-League will have a new format in the 2020-21 campaign, breaking away from the traditional league format — where all the teams play each other twice on a home and away basis (wherein the club which pocketed the maximum number of points were declared champions).
Owing to current circumstances – the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus pandemic situation, the new format will see the league divided into two different phases.
The 11 teams participating teams are - RoundGlass Punjab FC, Indian Arrows, Chennai City FC, TRAU FC, Churchill Brothers FC , Real Kashmir FC, Mohammedan SC, Gokulam Kerala FC, Aizawl FC, Sudeva Delhi FC and Neroca FC.
The first phase – referred to as the League Stage will see all the teams play one match against each other in a round-robin format. After every team completes 10 matches each, the 11 participating teams will be divided into two groups – Group A and Group B.
Group A will consist of the teams that finish in the top six spots in the League stage. During this second phase, these six teams will again play a match each against each other in a round-robin format. The points from both the phases will be put together to determine the champion (the team that finishes at the top of Group A).
On the other hand, Group B will comprise of the teams that finish in the bottom five spots of the League stage. Much like Group A, the five teams in Group B will also play a match each against each other once — in the round-robin format. The points from both the phases will be accrued together to determine which side (bottom-placed) gets relegated.
However, out of all the 11 teams currently playing in this season’s Hero I-League, Sudeva Delhi FC and Indian Arrows have immunity from relegation. If either of these teams finish at the bottom of Group B, the team placed above them will be relegated.
There are some new quarantine rules as well that have been put in place by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The entire league will be played at four venues – the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, the Mohun Bagan Ground, and the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, and the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani.