ISL 2017: I-League and Indian Super League clubs from North-East set to feature together in new pre-season tournament
Defending I-League champions Aizawl FC and ISL side NEUFC have already agreed to take part in the tournament
What's the story?
The biggest names in Indian club football from the North East are planning to play together in a pre-season tournament starting from next year, according to latest reports.
The tournament will be held as a preparation before the start of their respective league campaigns (I-League and ISL) and the news will surely delight fans from the region.
An official from NorthEast United FC, the ISL club from the region, confirmed the development to Sportskeeda. He stated that while the exact dates and teams are yet to be finalized, they are expected to hold the competition from next season onwards.
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Despite Aizawl FC's historic triumph last season in the I-League, the air surrounding India's national football league is still dominated by the relatively popular ISL.
The pre-season tournament will surely help the teams go against each other and it will be a perfect opportunity for the rising stars to take centre stage.
The heart of the matter
I-League clubs Aizawl FC, Shillong Lajong and newly-promoted Neroca FC have already given the green light to the tournament while NEUFC are also positive in terms of giving their consent.
The organizers are also hoping to rope in Bhaichung Bhutia-owned United Sikkim and I-League division two side Langsning to take part in the competition.
While the latest ISL and I-League campaigns have started, it remains to be seen when the dates for this latest competition will be finalized.
A number of I-League clubs indulged in playing pre-season friendlies against ISL sides this season and this tournament will only come as a bonus to the teams taking part in it. It will give the teams a better opportunity to test themselves and will also certainly draw in a huge number of fans from the region.