Goa [India], November 19 (ANI): The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is just around the corner with the fans eagerly waiting for the country's premier football tournament to get underway. All set to begin on Friday with ATK Mohun Bagan competing against Kerala Blasters FC in the opening match, the tournament will mark the return of the first major live sporting action in India after the COVID-19 lockdown.
However, just like the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, the upcoming edition of the ISL will be played behind closed doors under a bio-secure bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also, ISL 2020-21 will be entirely staged in the state of Goa.
The tournament will be played at three venues, namely: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.
New entrants SC East Bengal will make their ISL debut playing in one of the oldest rivalries in Asian football - the Kolkata Derby. SC East Bengal will face ATK Mohun Bagan in the biggest spectacle of Indian football on November 27, at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.
The 2020-2021 edition of ISL will witness an unprecedented 115 games, up from 95 last season. All clubs will play each other in a double round-robin format with the top four clubs in the standings at the end of the regular season qualifying for the playoffs.
Moreover, the maximum number of substitutes has been increased from three to five, keeping in mind the welfare of players amid the ongoing pandemic. Teams can use their five substitutes over a maximum of three intervals, and it doesn't include the changes at the half-time break.
In view of the tournament being played behind closed doors, the league has come up with new ways to keep the fans entertained despite not being able to be in the stands to cheer for their teams. ISL has introduced new technological innovations for fans to engage with their favourite clubs.
To soak in the experience and be a part of the team's biggest fixtures, fans can register on the dedicated Fan Zone on the ISL website where they can stand a chance to be featured LIVE on the stadium Fan Walls.
There will be 2 LED screens that will feature fans from the home team and the away team, thus amplifying the rivalry virtually in a bid to enhance the viewing experience. Along with this enhanced audio for the game, an additional mix of cameras and further access to the players through pre-and-post-match shows will ensure that fans remain close to all the action even beyond the field.
Moreover, ISL has teamed up with Twitter for league-specific emojis ahead of the 2020-21 season. While tweeting about the ISL, fans can use hashtags such as #LetsFootball or #ISLTwitter to show their love for the league. This tie-up will also see the clubs use their own hashtags, which fans can use to cheer their favourite teams on matchdays. Every hashtag will throw up an attractive emoji.
ISL will be telecasted on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar VIP. (ANI)