New Delhi: The 13th edition of the Hero I-League will get underway with a clash between former champions Mohun Bagan FC and Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl on 30 November, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Thursday.
The league will feature 11 teams this season, with the induction of TRAU FC, winners of the Hero Second division last season.
In a first, this season will witness two local derbies, the legendary Kolkata derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, and the Imphal derby featuring Neroca FC and TRAU FC.
"We are very happy to welcome TRAU FC to the 13th edition of the Hero I-League," said AIFF President Praful Patel.
"The pan India presence has been the unique feature of the league in the last few editions, and is a true testimony to the manner it has played a critical role in spreading the game to all corners of the country."
The winner will pocket a cheque of Rs 1 crore, while the runners-up will take home Rs 60 lakhs. Teams finishing at the third and fourth place will get Rs 40 lakhs and 25 lakhs respectively.
AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das said, "Over the years the Hero I-League has been scouting and providing a platform for future stars of Indian football. In the 13th edition this year we have 11 teams from eight states and one Union Territory fighting for the top honours. I wish luck to all the participating teams."
The Hero I-League has witnessed many a fairytale in recent years with underdogs such as Aizawl FC, Minerva Punjab FC (now Punjab FC) and Chennai City FC winning the previous three editions.
The 12th edition debutants Real Kashmir also created a flutter and were the title contenders at one-point.
The 11 teams competing at the 13th Hero I-League are Defending Champions Chennai City FC (Chennai), Punjab FC (Punjab), Aizawl FC (Mizoram), NEROCA FC (Manipur), TRAU FC (Manipur), Mohun Bagan and Quess East Bengal (West Bengal), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Churchill Brothers FC Goa (Goa), Indian Arrows (Goa) and Real Kashmir FC (Kashmir).
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2019 18:17:15 IST