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What to Expect from the 2021-22 Hero ISL Season?

Yet another season is upon the Indian football fans as the 2021-22 Hero ISL kicks off on November 19. There’s plenty to look forward to given the few tweaks in regulations coming into play this season. This eighth season of the league promises to be the best ever with all the high profile transfers from the summer transfer window.

Let’s take a look at the things that would be key to look out for from the 2021-22 Hero ISL season.

 

FOUR FOREIGNERS ON THE PITCH

The big talking point ahead of the season is the new rule of having only four foreign players in the starting XI and only six in the matchday squad. This will allow the domestic talent to come through the ranks and get more playtime compared to what has been the case in the previous editions. The opportunity to have another spot for an Indian player should be a blessing for the national team as the Hero ISL managers would be forced to play Indian talent in key positions on the pitch.

 

A PROPER PRE-SEASON FOR ALL CLUBS

Unlike the previous season, clubs this time around have had a chance to have a proper pre-season before the start of the league. Last time around we saw players coming out of quarantine and sent straight into the league games. There were occasions where the coach came out of quarantine and after a couple of training sessions were managing in an ISL match. This time around, the teams have competed in the Durand Cup. Some were involved in Asian competitions and recently we saw Hero ISL teams playing each other in pre-season friendlies.

 

PLENTY OF MANAGERIAL CHANGES

Like any other previous season, there have been plenty of managerial changes ahead of the new season. The defending champions Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC, who finished last in 2020-21, have different managers at the helm.

Apart from Jamshedpur FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, Hyderabad FC and FC Goa all other teams have seen a change in the managerial spot. Expect new philosophies and some new characters on the field and touchline this season.

 

IMPROVED REFERRING STANDARDS

Over the past few seasons, the biggest criticism of the league has been the standards of the match officials. There’s an expectation that this season would see an improvement in the level of the referees. To enhance the standards, AIFF has now set up a one-of-a-kind drive to keep open communication between the clubs and referees to better understand the reasoning behind their decisions during a game. This should hopefully be a help for the referees to get up to speed with the standard that is desired of them at the biggest stage.

Read: Udanta Singh to Jerry Lalrinzuala: Most Loyal Players in Hero ISL

 

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