Debutants Sudeva Delhi FC will take on Mohammedan SC to kick off the Hero I-League on January 9 in Kolkata, according to fixtures released by the All India Football Federation on Tuesday. (More Sports News)
The entire league will be played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upcoming season of the second tier league will be played at three venues -- Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium, Kalyani Municipal Stadium and Kishore Bharati Krirangan.
The opening day will feature the clash between Sudeva Delhi FC and Mohammedan SC scheduled to be played from 2 pm at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium.
The season opener will be followed by successive kick-offs between RoundGlass Punjab FC and Aizawl FC at 4pm and Gokulam Kerala FC and Chennai City FC at 7pm. Both these games will be being held at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium.
The organisers have released fixtures for the first half of the 11-team league. The schedule covers the first 10 rounds of matches to be played till February 24.
The matches will be broadcast live on 1Sports and streamed live on social media/OTT.
All the teams' players and officials, along with the referees and other officials from the local organising committee, will be operating from within the safety of a bio-secure bubble.
"We are about to experience a new version of the Hero I-League this time as all the teams will be operating from within the bubble," said Sunando Dhar, CEO, AIFF Leagues.
"It will indeed be a unique experience for all the players, coaches and officials involved.
"Of course, we would have loved to have had fans in the stands, but due to the current circumstances, that would not be possible. I just want to convey to all the fans that we will all we there for each other in spirit. I wish all the teams the best ahead of the tournament," he added.
Owing to the pandemic, the previous edition of the second-tier league was stopped abruptly before football action resumed in India through the I-League Qualifier in October this year.