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ISL 7 likely to be held behind closed doors from November to March

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ISL has helped spark immense interest in football in IndiaKolkata (IANS) The Indian Super League (ISL) is likely to be held behind closed doors with four neutral venues potentially hosting India”s premier club competition slated to start from November.

In a meeting with ISL club CEOs and ISL organisers Football Sports Development Ltd. (FSDL) on Monday, holding the league behind closed doors was discussed keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“We had a discussion on those lines. It will be closed doors in all probability. We will be assessing the health situation,” a club source told IANS on Monday.

The four locations being looked into to host all the matches are North East, West Bengal, Kerala and Goa.

“Matches will be around these areas and not the usual 10 venues of all teams. Like in West Bengal ISL will look into Kolkata and areas surrounding the city. North East has also been marked as a potential option and so is Kerala and Goa,” the source added.

During the meeting, it was also decided that the teams will be staying inside biosecure bubbles to ensure there is no breach of health protocols. The England-West Indies three-match Test series will be an example where players of both teams have been staying inside biosecure bubbles.

The window for the seventh edition of ISL will be from November to March although no date as to when it will start has been decided yet.

The ISL final between ATK and Chennaiyin FC was played behind closed doors at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on March 14. ATK beat Chennaiyin 3-1 to claim an unprecedented third title.

As reported by IANS earlier, the ISL, from this season, has made it mandatory for its participating clubs to have one Asian international player in their squad from the upcoming 2020-21 season.

As per the ISL player guidelines provided to all the clubs by FSDL, each club is also mandated to have two developmental players born in or after 2000 in the squad of 18 for each match.

The ISL, which is now the country”s top league, will still have five foreigners on the pitch but from next season there will also be one Asian player in the squad.

Further, each club will have a minimum squad of 25 and a maximum of 35 from next season. Till last term, the squad size was maximum of 25 players, but with an eye on helping more youngsters get an opportunity, it has been increased.

A minimum of five and maximum of seven international players can be signed by a club including the Asian recruit. Each club can have a minimum of 18 and maximum of 30 domestic players.

–IANS

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