Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif to feature in ISL 2017-18 opening ceremonyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/indian-super-league/salman-khan-katrina-kaif-to-feature-in-isl-2017-18-opening-ceremony-4928280/

Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif to feature in ISL 2017-18 opening ceremony

The first match of the season will be played in Kochi between champions ATK and runners-up Kerala Blasters.

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif will feature in the ISL 2017-18 opening ceremony. (Source: Twitter)

The Indian Super League starts on November 17 in Kochi with hosts Kerala Blasters taking on champions ATK. The match, though will be preceded by an opening ceremony that will feature Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The season will also feature the debut of Jamshedpur FC and former I-League champions and AFC Cup runners up Bengaluru FC in the league.

Significant changes have been incorporated into the league structure this season. While matches used to be played everyday over a jam-packed two-month period. This time though, the matches will be played three days a week with two being played on Sundays. This makes it the longest league across sports in India. A total of 95 matches will be played and this includes the knockout stages that comes afer the league stage.

It was earlier decided that the tournament would start in Kolkata where defending champions ATK are based. But the organisers decided to shift it to Kochi where last season’s runners up Kerala Blasters are situated. The ISL will run parrallel to the I-League. Although its the I-League that will send a team to the AFC Champions League playoff, the winner of the ISL will qualify for the AFC Cup group stage. It is the first time in its four-year existence that the ISL is gaining recognition as an official league from the AIFF and AFC.