Kolkata will host the 2020-21 I-League season, as well as the second division qualifiers, AIFF has confirmed.
They stated that the availability of infrastructure facilities and assurance from West Bengal's sports minister regarding the required permissions were the reasons for awarding the rights of hosting these tournaments to IFA, Kolkata.
The AIFF added that the 2nd division qualifiers will serve as a dress rehearsal for the I-League and enable all involved stakeholders to understand the COVID bubble and operate likewise for a seamless operation. The schedules, however, are yet to be finalised, pending approval from the Central Government.
In the AIFF League Committee Meeting, Subrata Dutta, Sr. VP AIFF stressed on the necessity to "strictly adhere to the medical parameters." "The League department has already prepared the SOP which is to be strictly followed. The onus this year is not on the clubs but on the AIFF and the concerned State Associations since we have already decided that the Leagues would be held in one venue." he said. "We need to leave no stone unturned and have a number of workshops to educate all stakeholders as we are currently working against all odds."
Kushal Das, AIFF Gen. Secy., added, "we need to relook at the duration of Hero I-League and Hero ISL to ensure the absolute safety of players." He mentioned about Chinese Super League -- a 9-month league being condensed to a much shorter format. "It would be difficult to accept any COVID related infections on the players and officials."
"Organising the league in one single venue under current circumstances is not easy. We need to think rationally. I reiterate that we should, and will do what is best to ensure the safety of the players," he said.