The 10th edition of the I-League, India’s premier domestic football competition, will see a return of representation from all four regions of the country – Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal Club, Aizawl FC and Shillong Lajong FC from the East and North East; Mumbai FC, DSK Shivajians FC and Churchill Brothers SC from the West; Bengaluru FC and Chennai City FC from the South and debutants Minerva Punjab FC will bring the North of India back into top flight Indian football after a gap of five seasons.
As the 10th edition of the I-League was launched at a glittering ceremony at a hotel in the National Capital, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said: “The ten 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 Aizawl 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.”
Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD & CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd said: “Football has clearly become one of the most popular sports among youngsters in the country. As the Title Sponsor of all the marquee football tournaments in the country – Hero ISL, Hero I-League and Hero Federation Cup – Brand Hero has been the pioneer in popularising the game in India. With over 100 matches to be played by the 10 teams in the fray, the Hero I-League and Hero Federation Cup will certainly bring a lot of excitement for the fans, and contribute towards the long-term development of the game.”
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said: “The competitive spirit of the Hero 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 further stated: “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 first game of the six-month long league will kick off on January 7 in Bengaluru with defending champions Bengaluru FC locking horns with Shillong Lajong FC.
(Report & Photo courtesy: I-League Media)