Indian football action to extend to nine months from next season

The Indian football season will span across nine months from next season
The Indian football season will span across nine months from next season / Indian Super League Twitter/Hero Super Cup Twitter/Durand Cup Twitter

The Indian football season is reportedly expected to return back to its routine nine-month calendar from this year, meaning two cup competitions will be played alongside an extended Indian Super League season.

The Indian Super League's 2021-22 season lasted just four months with I-League too being wrapped up quickly and with no cup competitions to play this season, there is an unusually big break between two seasons.

However, as reported by the Times of India, this is going to undergo a change as ISL organisers informed club CEOs on Tuesday that the calendar for next season will be extended to include Durand Cup (to be held in pre-ISL season) and Super Cup (to be held post-ISL season).

The report goes on to cite their sources to reveal that the season will begin with the Durand Cup on August 13, with 20 clubs (11 ISL, five I-League and four from the organisers and Indian Armed forces) taking part in the competition. The Cup will have four groups of five teams each and will be played in Kolkata, Assam and Manipur. The Durand Cup will concluded on September 24.

After that, clubs will begin preparing for the 2022-23 Indian Super League season expected to be played from October 6 to March 18.

Once the ISL season comes to an end next year, a Super Cup has been scheduled as a post-season tournament with 20 clubs, 11 from ISL and nine from I-League to face off between April 1 and May 14.

Meanwhile, the ISL organisers also stated in their presentation that, "the football calendar is being shifted from a shorter event to a more normalised calendar to bring it in line with football leagues all over the world."

This comes as great news for Indian football.

With regards to the ISL, there will be a change in format this time out with a six team playoffs round instead of four.

This means that the top two teams of the league stage will qualify automatically for the playoffs, while teams ranked 3 and 6 as well as 4 and 5 on the table will play a knockout match to decide who makes it to the playoffs last four. This single leg match will be played at the home of the higher ranked team between the two.

The final four format will remain the same with games being played home and away with the winners of the games making it to the final of the Indian Super League.