The Indian Super League starts on November 17 in Kochi with hosts Kerala Blasters taking on champions ATK. The match, though will be preceded by an opening ceremony that will feature Bollywood stars Salman Khanand Katrina Kaif. The season will also feature the debut of Jamshedpur FC and former I-League champions and AFC Cup runners up Bengaluru FC in the league.
The reworked schedule means the home and away matches of Kerala Blasters and ATK have been inter-changed. While Blasters will host ATK at JNI stadium in the season opener, the return leg in Kolkata between the two teams will be on February 9.
Significant changes have been incorporated into the league structure this season. While matches used to be played everyday over a jam-packed two-month period. This time though, the matches will be played three days a week with two being played on Sundays. This makes it the longest league across sports in India. A total of 95 matches will be played and this includes the knockout stages that comes afer the league stage.
It was earlier decided that the tournament would start in Kolkata where defending champions ATK are based. But the organisers decided to shift it to Kochi where last season’s runners up Kerala Blasters are situated. The ISL will run parrallel to the I-League. Although its the I-League that will send a team to the AFC Champions League playoff, the winner of the ISL will qualify for the AFC Cup group stage. It is the first time in its four-year existence that the ISL is gaining recognition as an official league from the AIFF and AFC.
ISL opening ceremonies have often attracted eyeballs and has featured many celebrities in the past three seasons but having both Salman and Katrina on the same stage is as big as it can get.
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 6, 2017
The ISL opening ceremony has always been a party affair with the likes of Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez taking to the centre-stage in previous occasions. Also, Nita Ambani is poised to make an appearance like always!
Both stars will feature in the upcoming movie Tiger Zinda Hai, scheduled for a December 22 release. The movie is a sequel of the 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger.
Football Sports Development Ltd, a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India, today announced the match schedule of the power-packed ISL season 4.
All the 10 teams will play each other in a home-and-away format in 90 games before the two-legged semi-finals which are scheduled to take place in the second week of March.
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