Kolkata: Indian Super League (ISL) officials have been working overtime and have laid down a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the upcoming season keeping health and safety as the primary factor in deciding all protocols. As per sources, the same has been communicated to the clubs.
Goa and Kerala are the two states shortlisted to host ISL this season and whichever gets the green light on August 7, matches will be played at three venues with minimum travel.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know said that the SOP states that the 10 teams will be divided into three groups with Group A housing four teams and Group B and C having three teams each. This has been done from an operational point of view where four teams in Group A and three teams in Group B and C will play their home games in one venue and travel to other venues only for away games.
"For example, let's say all south clubs (Bengaluru FC, Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters) are in Group A at one venue. So Kerala Blasters will play all their home games (9) at the venue where they are housed and three 'away' games against Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennaiyin at the same place as they are in their pool," explained a source.
There will also be a central medical team and a League Hygiene Officer who will oversee issuing operational directives and implementing the same across the board.
The ISL has also mandated that the clubs hire a Hygiene Officer of their own. "All those who will be involved with the league will be divided into three groups -- a high protection, a medium protection and a general protection group," the source said.
The high protection group will consist of players, team officials and their co-residents, including family and friends.
The medium protection group will include league staff, broadcast staff, club management officials and hotel staff. The general protection group will be the accredited agency staff and all of them in these brackets will be regularly tested.
All players and staff must obtain a negative COVID-19 test at their home city 48 hours before arriving in the host city and they will be tested again on arrival and spend some time in isolation even if the result is negative.
Clubs will also need to ensure that their players return to full-fledged training in four phases with a player training in isolation for the first six days on arrival at the venue and getting tested twice in that period.
The ISL will also launch a Health App to conduct daily health survey and symptom checking.
The ISL is expected to release its schedule by August 31 and start pre-season between October 1 and 10 with a ISL coaches' forum scheduled for November 2. Individual club workshops will be held between November 5 and 15 with the first match of the season to be played between November 20 and 23 behind closed doors.