Indian football is abuzz with anticipation as the highly-anticipated 10th season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to commence tomorrow, marking a decade of professionalism and growth in the country’s football landscape. The opening match will feature a fierce clash between arch-rivals Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC in the vibrant city of Kochi.
This season brings with it a fresh wave of enthusiasm as Punjab FC, who recently secured their spot in the I-League, join the ranks of ISL teams, expanding the competition to a total of 12 teams. With this expansion, fans can look forward to an action-packed league round featuring an impressive 132 matches, up from 110 in the previous season. The 10th edition will include a grand total of 139 matches, encompassing playoffs, semi-finals, and the ultimate showdown in the finals.
Punjab FC, fresh off their I-League triumph, is poised to make a memorable ISL debut, facing the formidable three-time champion Mohun Bagan in their opening match. Meanwhile, other exciting matchups in the first game week include East Bengal squaring off against Jamshedpur, Mumbai North East, and Chennaiyin Odisha.
However, there has been a minor alteration in the schedule, as the Goa-Hyderabad match initially scheduled for Friday has been postponed.
Another notable adjustment for this edition of the ISL is the change in match timings. Matches will now kick off at 7 p.m., with the first match of the double-header days commencing at 5.30 p.m. The league has been structured around a weekend format, running from Thursday to Sunday.
In a move that has garnered attention, the ISL will take a one-week break in November as part of India’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup. Additionally, there will be a short hiatus to accommodate preparations for the AFC Cup in Qatar, further underscoring the league’s commitment to both domestic and international football excellence.
To cater to the diverse linguistic preferences of fans, the ISL will now feature a Malayalam version, airing on Suriya Movies. This change comes after the conclusion of Star’s telecast period, with Sports 18 and Jio Cinema securing the telecast rights for the season.