NEW DELHI: The 2007 National Football League (NFL) champion, Dempo Sports Club, will kick-start the re-christened league — the I-League — when it takes on Salgaocar SC at Margao on Saturday.
After some delay due to several factors, including the Indian national team’s busy schedule in the World Cup qualifiers, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was finally able to decide the schedule for the I-League.
Live on Zee Sports
The league will have the same sponsor, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which has been with the NFL for a few years now. The I-League will have 90 matches and Zee Sports will telecast live at least 45 of them.
TEN Sports will also telecast 15 matches live, while TEN Sports Middle East and Zee Sports USA will telecast 30 games live for their respective regions, said the Zee Sports CEO Gary Lovejoy.
The schedule (for the first nine rounds):
Round I: Nov. 24: Dempo SC (Goa) v Salgaocar (Goa); Nov. 25: East Bengal v Viva Kerala (Kolkata), Churchill Brothers v Sporting Clube de Goa (Goa), Mahindra United v Air India (Mumbai); Nov. 26: Mohun Bagan v JCT (Kolkata).
Round II: Nov. 28: Sporting Clube v Dempo; Nov. 29: Bagan v Viva Kerala (Kolkata), Salgaocar v Air India (Goa), Mahindra v Churchill (Mumbai); Nov. 30: East Bengal v JCT (Kolkata).
Round III: Dec. 2: Bagan v Sporting Clube (Kolkata); Dec. 3: Air India v Viva Kerala (Mumbai), East Bengal v Salgaocar (Kolkata); Dec. 4: Churchill v Dempo (Goa), JCT v Mahindra (Ludhiana).
Round IV: Dec. 8: JCT v Churchill (Ludhiana), Bagan v Air India (Kolkata), Mahindra v Viva Kerala (Mumbai); Dec. 9: Dempo v East Bengal (Goa); Dec. 10: Salgaocar v Sporting Clube (Goa).
Round V: Dec. 12: Dempo v Bagan (Goa), Air India v JCT (Mumbai); Dec. 13: Churchill v East Bengal (Goa); Dec. 14: Sporting Clube v Mahindra (Goa); Dec. 15: Viva Kerala v Salgaocar (Kerala).
Round VI: Dec. 16: Churchill v Bagan (Goa), JCT v Dempo (Ludhiana); Dec. 17: Air India v East Bengal (Mumbai); Dec. 19: Salgaocar v Mahindra (Goa), Viva Kerala v Sporting Clube (Kerala).
Round VII: Dec. 20: Air India v Dempo (Mumbai); Dec. 22: Salgaocar v Bagan (Goa); Dec. 23: Mahindra v East Bengal (Mumbai), Churchill v Viva Kerala (Goa), JCT v Sporting Clube (Ludhiana).
Round VIII: Dec. 28: Dempo v Mahindra (Goa); Dec. 29: Sporting Clube v Air India (Goa), Viva Kerala v JCT (Kerala), Bagan v East Bengal (Kolkata); Dec. 31: Salgaocar v Churchill (Goa).
Round IX: Jan. 3: Salgaocar v JCT (Goa); Jan. 4: Dempo v Viva Kerala (Goa); Jan. 5: Sporting Clube v East Bengal (Goa), Bagan v Mahindra (Kolkata); Jan. 6: Air India v Churchill (Mumbai). — Principal Correspondent