To be competed by the least number of teams in its history, this season's I-League will have 72 matches to be played in 18 rounds among the nine clubs across six cities on home-and-away basis, with the final round matches scheduled for April 24.
     
A gap of more than two weeks has been kept in fixtures as India will have to play their two remaining 2018 World Cup qualifying round matches, though they are out of contention of advancing further.
     
Forced to start the season in January after the advent of the successful Indian Super League since last year, I-League suffered a jolt after the pull-out of Pune FC, Bharat FC and Royal Wahingdoh owing to financial woes in running their clubs.
     
The All India Football Federation was able to rope in Pune-based DSK Shivajians for this season while Aizawl FC made the top-tier grade after winning the second division I-League. Former champions Dempo will not be seen this time after being relegated last season.

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