ISL 2022-23: Bye Bye Bio-Bubble, Welcome Back, Fans

thebeautifulgamethebeautifulgame Durgapur,India28540 Points
edited October 2022 in Indian Super League
The ninth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is just around the corner. The league begins on October 7, 2022 with last season's runners-up Kerala Blasters FC taking on East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Eleven teams--ATK Mohun BaganBengaluru FCChennaiyin FCEast Bengal FCFC GoaHyderabad FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FCMumbai City FCNorthEast United FCOdisha FC--would be vying for top honours in home and away format in a five month long season (October 2022-February 2023) followed by the Super Cup. Hyderabad FC are the defending champions and Jamshedpur FC are the League Shield winners. All matches would be broadcast on the Star Sports network, with live streaming available on Disney + Hotstar.

This season will be special: no longer will the players and viewers have to contend with the stifling bio-bubble. The fans will be back to the stadiums after a gap of two years, and their full-throated, raucous presence will bring the verve and intensity that was missing in the previous editions. The players would no longer have to cooped in hotel rooms and will relish the prospect of mixing with friends and family. No more bio-bubble fatigue, no more social distancing. This is routine football, and this is what all of us had been waiting for.

There have been some other significant changes in this edition. One of them is the new playoff format: the two top teams at the end of the league stage qualify automatically for the semi-finals, whereas the third placed team will square off against the sixth-placed team and the fourth-placed team will face the fifth placed team to decide the remaining semi-final slots. The semi-finals will be two-legged, with the winners facing each other in the final. Another welcome alteration is that matches will be played only from Thursdays to Sundays each matchweek, with double-headers on Saturdays. This change from the "one match every day" format will provide the necessary leeway to both footballers and fans: it will lessen the strain on the players that the earlier format entailed while making it convenient for fans and families to attend and watch the teams in action.

With all the teams bracing to put their best foot forward, what are you waiting for, guys? Be ready to support your team, cheer your favourite players and take on your opponents. Let's Football!!

This thread is to discuss all activities--pre-season matches, team news, matches during ISL, post-match analysis--except those related to transfer.
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