Kochi: The 2018-19 season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is set to kick off on September 29.
Established in 2013, the fifth edition of the league will run till March with three international breaks – in October, November and January - over the six-month period.
There will be no ISL action between mid-December to February 3 as India will be participating in the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. The country’s three group stage matches in the quadrennial event are scheduled for January 6, 10 and 14.
The organisers have confirmed that the number of participating teams will not be increased from 10, which means Kolkata heavyweights East Bengal FC, who had shown keenness to join the ISL, will have to wait another season to get into the league. A few months back, the club officials had met All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel to discuss their participation in the ISL.
However, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organisers of the ISL, has made it clear that it has no plans to invite bids from interested parties to enrol and participate in the fifth edition of the league.
East Bengal have been trying to push for a spot in the ISL in the upcoming season with the backing of their new investors, Quess Corp Ltd. The Bangalore-based business services provider mopped up a 70 per cent stake in the 98-year-old club for an initial investment of Rs 10 crore to develop its brand and also contribute to the development of football in the country.