The I-League Division 2 will be finally played with 23 teams taking part. 21 teams will feature in the preliminary round, while last years relegated I-League sides Sporting Clube de Goa and Shillong Lajong FC will join the action only in the eight team final round to be played in Shillong.
The three groups will be played in Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand) and Guwahati (Assam) after an inspection team had had a look at venues across India and had found these the best. Two teams from each of the seven team group will qualify for the final leg and the groups have been divided in such a way to give it a national look. Delih's Simla Youngs FC and BEML from Bangalore were late additions to the Division 2.
The Guwahati leg is set to kick-off earlier on March 27 due to elections in Assam, while the two other groups are likely to start on April 2/3.
To name favourites this year is difficult with eight to 10 teams capable of gaining promotion to the I-League proper. And maybe more then two teams will go up if the AFC Club Criteria isn't met by top tier clubs.
The fixtures will be announced in the coming days.
I-League Division 2 - Groups
Group A - Madurai (Tamil Nadu)
Techno Aryan Club (West Bengal), Vasco SC (Goa), Chandni FC (Kerala), Royal Wahingdoh SC (Meghalaya), Eagles FC (Kerala), PIFA Colaba Youngstars (Maharashtra), BEML (EM) (Karnataka)
Group B - Ranchi (Jharkhand)
Mohammedan Sporting Club (West Bengal), Denzong Boyz (Sikkim), Josco FC (Kerala), Kenkre FC (Maharashtra), Sesa Football Academy (Goa), Malabar United FC (Kerala), Ar-Hima FC (Meghalaya)
Group C - Guwahati (Assam)
NISA (Manipur), United Sikkim FC (Sikkim), Langsning FC (Meghalaya), Guwahati Town Club (Assam), Southern Samity (West Bengal), Golden Threads FC (Kerala), Simla Youngs FC (Delhi)