Srinagar, Sep 9: This season, Kashmir will once again host high-profile I-League football matches following a two-year hiatus caused by COVID-19.
After a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Real Kashmir FC, the sole I-League club of J&K, will conduct its I-League home matches in Kashmir once more this season.
The I-16th League’s season is scheduled to run from October 2022 to March 2023.
The tournament’s structure was condensed for the past two seasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The standard home and away games in a double round-robin format will return beginning with this season.
The table topper at the end of the season will be crowned the league champion. Each team will play two games against every other team in both home and away venues.
Depending on the number of teams in the league, Srinagar, the home city of Real Kashmir FC, would host 10 to 11 I-League games this season.
The last time Kashmir hosted an I-Tournament game was in March 2020, when the league was suspended mid-season due to COVID-19 limitations.
RKFC previously called Synthetic Turf Stadium TRC home, but this year they’re anticipated to play most of their games at Bakshi Stadium Srinagar, which has recently undergone renovations.
The return of I-League matches to Kashmir means, the return of a festive football atmosphere. Going by previous match records, the stadiums are again expected to be a full house as Kashmir fans have always thronged to the venue in large numbers to witness the top league matches.
Despite Mohun Bagan, East Bengal FC not going to be part of the I-League this time, the league still feature strong and high-profile teams like Mohemmedan Sporting Kolkatta, Gokulam Kerala FC, and Chennai City FC.
RKFC has already started training at Bakshi Stadium and has almost finished the composition of the team this season. Apart from foreign and outside J&K players, the team will also be featuring some of the highly reckoned local talents in its ranks.
“Team is almost finalised with almost all the players being signed. We have started our daily training sessions in Bakshi Stadium and within a week or so all the players would be arriving in Srinagar,” said an RKFC official.
The official said that team missed playing in front of home fans.
The official said that they expect fans to turn up in big numbers this season as they have been yearning for some quality football action”Kashmir fans love football and follow the game passionately. For the last two seasons, they have not been able to witness live stadium-quality football action. As football will be returning to Kashmir this season, we expect fans to turn up in big numbers,” the official said.