New Delhi:As All India Football Federation launches the first ever professional league in the country, it has stressed on the need for more clubs to be included in the top division to create a bigger pool of players for the national team.
The 'I-League' is set to start in Margao, Goa, on November 24 with a match between national league champions Dempo and Salgaocar Sports Club.
Popular filmstar John Abraham will be present at the opening ceremony to promote his film Goal.
The 18 rounds of the league will go on till March 30.
The first edition will feature 10 teams - mostly from Kolkata, Goa and Mumbai - but the Federation and its broadcast partner Zee Sports are looking to increase the number of clubs in the future.
"There will be two clubs relegated and four promoted from the second division each season and after three years, we aim to have a top division of 16 teams so that most of the country is represented," Gary Lovejoy, Chief Operating Officer of Zee Sports, said.
"The following of the league will increase considerably if youngsters have a local team to support."
To enhance the viewing experience, the channel is trying to rope in foreign commentators who work on the various European leagues.
"Former Chelsea, Southampton and England star Graeme Le Saux has agreed in principle to do commentary for us and more such personalities may join us," Lovejoy said.
In a departure from previous years, the organisers released the full schedule of the league in one go, but how long it remains unchanged remains to be seen.