Kolkata, Sept. 16: The I-League Qualifier will begin here on October 8 and kick off the football season, the All India Football Federation said on Wednesday.
Five clubs will battle it out for a single I-League qualification spot at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata and the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal.
The Qualifiers will be played in a round-robin format among ARA FC, Bhawanipore FC, Garhwal FC, FC Bengaluru United and Mohammedan SC. The team that finishes at the top of the table after match-day five will gain entry into the 2020-21 I-League.
"The Hero I-League qualifiers are an important event as it gives a number of teams the chance to qualify for this pan-India league," said AIFF Leagues CEO Sunando Dhar.
"It is unfortunate that these teams missed out on the opportunity to gain promotion last season due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic," he added.
"That is why this is a unique opportunity for them to make it to the Hero I-League this season."
Due to the pandemic, the domestic season was pushed back by two months and the summer transfer window began on August 1 and will run till October 31. This year's I-League will also be held in a few venues in West Bengal from November in view of the pandemic.