India's domestic football season is all set to start at the Bangalore Football Stadium with the Hero I-League qualifiers.10 teams will be competing for a chance to get into the I-League. The tournament will take place in a bio-bubble.
Teams taking part have been nominated by their respective state football associations. The below-mentioned teams were also asked to present some documents and their club license to secure a place in the qualifiers.
Teams set to compete in Hero I-League qualifiers
Hyderya Sports FC (J&K)
Corbett FC (Uttarakhand)
Delhi FC (Delhi)
Madan Maharaj FC (Madhya Pradesh)
Rajasthan United FC (Rajasthan)
ARA FC (Gujarat)
Kenkre FC (Maharashtra)
FC Bengaluru United (Karnataka)
Kerala United FC (Kerala)
Ryntih SC (Meghalaya)
This time around, seven teams will be making their debuts in the competition. Hyderya Sports FC (J&K), Corbett FC (Uttarakhand), Delhi FC (Delhi), Madan Maharaj FC (Madhya Pradesh), Rajasthan United FC (Rajasthan), Kerala United FC (Kerala), Ryntih SC (Meghalaya) will all be attempting to make it to the I-League for the first time in their history. Speaking about the competition, AIFF Leagues CEO Mr. Sunando Dhar, said:
"It’s great to kick-off the Indian Football domestic season once again with the Hero I-League Qualifiers. What makes the tournament all the more special this season is that we will have double the number of teams that played in the competition last year, and seven of the 10 teams are debutants."
Since the turn of the pandemic, all football competitions have been conducted under a secure bio-bubble. Hero I-League qualifiers will also follow the same pattern. AIFF Leagues CEO Mr. Sunando Dhar further added:
“All the teams will be hosted in a central Bio Bubble, and that goes a long way in affirming that we are all firmly committed to taking Indian Football forward together. I wish the participating teams all the best."
Hero I-League competition format
The group stage of the qualifiers will be played in a round-robin format. The 10 teams will be split into 2 groups of 5. Each team will play against the other 4 teams in their group once. The top 2 from each group after that will go ahead and compete in the final round of qualifiers. The 4 teams qualified for the next round will once again play a round-robin format and the winner there will advance to the Hero I-League.