Hero Indian Super League 2017-18 to kick off in Kolkata; League’s first longer season
Hero Indian Super League, the globally-recognized Indian football league kicks off with a mouth- watering clash between arch rivals and Season 3 champions ATK and runners-up Kerala Blasters FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata on November 17, 2017.
The clash between two-time champions ATK and KeralaBlasters FC in the opener will also bring the seasoned rivalry between RobbieKeane and Dimitar Berbatov from Europe to Indian soil. Hero ISL 2017-18 will see 10 teams in action thisseason, with the addition of Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC, which will resultin a prolonged season lasting four months for the first time.
Football Sports Development Ltd., a joint venturebetween IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India, announced the match scheduleof the power-packed ISL season 4 today featuring 95 matches.
All 10 teams play each other in a home-and-away formatin 90 games before the two-legged semi-finals which are scheduled to take placein the second week of March. Date and venue for the Final of the 2017-18 seasonwill be announced later. All league matches to be played from Wednesday to Saturday willkick off at 8 PM (IST) with Sunday featuring double headersat 5:30 PM and 8 PM (IST).
The season’s first double-header will see a repeat ofthe 2016 Final between Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa in Chennai followed by AFC Cup2016 finalist, Bengaluru FC, getting their first taste of Hero ISL when theytake on last season’s semi-finalists Mumbai City FC in a home match at SreeKanteerava Stadium on Sunday, 19th November. The highlight ofthe day will undoubtedly be India captain, Sunil Chhetri taking on his previousclub for the first time.
The season’s first Maharashtra derby between FC PuneCity and Mumbai City FC will be played on November 29, 2017 at theShree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune. Jamshedpur FC will play their first home match at therenovated JRD Tata Sports Complex Stadium against title holders ATK onDecember1.
The 10 clubs have collectively spent Rs 132.75 croresin signing 77 international and 166 domestic players. Unlike previous seasons,the maximum number of foreign players in the playing XI has been reduced fromsix to five from this season onwards. This has prompted clubs to invest heavilyon home-grown talents with long-term goals in mind resulting in over 32 Indianplayers getting multi-year contracts starting this year.