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ISL set to allow crowds for the first time in two years


The Indian Super League (ISL) is set to feature crowds for the first time in two years when the final of the 2021-22 season is held in Goa on March 20.

The final will be held at the PJN Stadium in Margao, concluding the football league that started in November, 2021. As per a State government notification, last issued on January 23, “public gatherings shall be restricted to a maximum of 50 per cent of venue capacity,” which means a crowd attendance of around 9,500 is expected.

ISL organisers Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) are in discussion with local authorities with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and ticketing guidelines set to be issued within a fortnight.

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Goa, which had legislative assembly polls earlier this month, looks to return to normalcy with a considerable dip in COVID-19 cases. The positivity rate is as low as 1.7 per cent with the active caseload below 500.

Schools in the State have also reopened for off-line classes. State-sponsored annual cultural festival, the Shigmo parade, is also scheduled on the same day as the ISL final in Margao. This will be the first time crowds will be allowed back into top-flight football in India in the pandemic era.

The last ISL game which featured spectators was the second semifinal of the 2019-20 season, with more than 50,000 people at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The final which followed was the first sporting event in India to be held behind closed doors, on March 8, 2020, at the same venue.

ISL was one of the first major sports league in India to return amid the pandemic and has been held in a bio-secure bubble in Goa for the past two seasons.



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