File photo of Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Sarusajai in Guwahati

The 2023-24 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will begin from September 21 with Kerala Blasters FC taking on Bengaluru FC in the season opener.

NorthEast United FC will play their first match of the ISL season against Mumbai City FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on September 24.

All matches, excluding the double-headers, will begin at 8 pm. The double-headers will kick-off at 5:30 pm, stated a press release from Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL).

FSDL also announced that Viacom18 will be the exclusive media rights holder for ISL. The telecast will be available for football fans in multiple languages and will also be streamed free on JioCinema.

“Over the past decade, ISL has proven to be a driving force behind the overall development of football in India both on and off the field. In its next phase of growth Viacom18 will be the perfect partner to take ISL to a larger audience,” a statement from FSDL said.

The first few games of the ISL season will clash with the Asian Games even as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appealed to the clubs to release the selected players in “national interest”. AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey had reportedly requested FSDL to delay the start of ISL by 10 days, with the Indian men’s football team in action in the Asian Games this month. However, FSDL decided to go ahead with the league and said that there was no scope for postponement of the schedule and that it was made keeping the AFC Asian Cup and the FIFA windows in mind.

Indian Super League Fixtures 1 – The News Mill Indian Super League Fixtures 2 – The News Mill

“The ISL 10 season schedule to begin on September 21st has been created and approved with extensive consultations involving all stakeholders, including the AIFF. Basis the recommendations of AIFF on the league window, the final start dates were calendared,” FSDL said in a statement.

“All stakeholders have formally agreed to the schedule’s dates and structure, which incorporates necessary breaks to accommodate FIFA windows and breaks for the AFC Asian Cup. Given the packed football calendar, the season schedule has been designed to consider all these factors leaving no scope for postponement of the tournament at this stage.”

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