The fourth edition of the I-league, India's Professional Football League, is set to kick-off on November 26 across India with 14 clubs taking part, but some venues will not be available for the start of the league. The Bangalore Football Stadium as well as the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai will be dug-up at the time for laying of artificial pitches under the "Win in India with India" project of world football governing body FIFA.
The two I-League venues besides Shillong and Manipur were selected as the first four cities to get an artificial turf as part of infrastructure development in Indian football sponsored by FIFA. In the second phase four to six further artificial turfs would be allotted to cities and states.
But during the time of redevelopment of these grounds and training pitches, which usually takes around three to four month's, they are off limits and that is harming the scheduling of the I-League this season.
As Mumbai has no other suitable venue to host I-League matches, the Western Indian Football Association has decided to shift matches of the three city based I-League sides to Kolhapur, which is about 400 kilometres southeast of Mumbai. Kolhapur is said to be a football crazy city with local matches drawing up to 35,000 spectators. The Chhatrapati Sahu Stadium in Kolhapur has hosted second division I-League matches in the past.
In Bangalore it is the same problem, but the Karnataka State Football Association can fall back on the much bigger Sree Kanteerava Stadium if need be, but still the KSFA has asked the AIFF and I-League committee to switch the home advantage of the four affected matches of promoted Hindustan Aeronautics Limited SC. The opening game between HAL and JCT has already been switched to Ludhiana in Punjab; while about the three other matches no decision has been made. The I-League organisers would like to want as little change of venues and dates as possible.
Meanwhile Viva Kerala themselves have decided to shift their homes matches from Calicut to Kannur. No longer will the Municipal Corporation Stadium in Calicut play home to Kerala's only I-League side, but from now on Kannur's Municipal Jawahar Floodlit Stadium. Viva Kerala has shifted its team base from Kochi to Kannur too, which in the last few years has successfully hosted the E.K. Nayanar Memorial Gold Cup.