|Organising body||All India Football Federation (AIFF)|
|Founded||2007 (succeeding the National Football League)(as I-League);|
|Number of teams||13|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Promotion to||Indian Super League|
|Relegation to||I-League 2|
|Domestic cup(s)||Federation Cup |
|Current champions||RoundGlass Punjab (1st title)|
|Most championships||Dempo (3 titles)|
|Top goalscorer||Ranti Martins (214 goals)|
Indian Football (YouTube)
|Current: 2023–24 I-League|
The competition was founded in 2007 as the successor to the National Football League, with the first season starting in November 2007. The league was launched as India's first ever top-tier professional football league with the aim to increase the player pool for the India national team. I-League operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the I-League 2 and at first only promotion system with the Indian Super League, from the 2022–23 season.
Since the inception of the I-League, a total of seven clubs have been crowned champions. Dempo have won the most titles in league history, being crowned champions three times. Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru and Gokulam Kerala have won the league twice. Salgaocar, Aizawl, Minerva Punjab, Chennai City and Roundglass Punjab have won it once.
In 1996, the first domestic league was started in India, known as the National Football League, in an effort to introduce professionalism in Indian football. Despite that ambition, that has not been achieved to this date. During the National Football League days, the league suffered from poor infrastructure and unprofessionalism from its clubs. One of the clubs in the league, FC Kochin, went defunct in 2002 after it was revealed that the club had not paid salaries since 2000, after making up 2.5 crores of losses in a season.
After a decade of decline with the National Football League, the All India Football Federation decided it was time for a change. This resulted in the modern day iteration of the top-tier in India.
After the 2006–07 NFL season, it was announced that it would be rebranded as the I-League for the 2007–08 season. The league's first season consisted of eight teams from the previous NFL campaign and two teams from the 2nd Division to form a 10 team league. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the title sponsors of the previous NFL, were named as the title sponsors of the I-League before the league kicked off in November 2007. The league also announced a change in their foreign-player restrictions with the new rule being that all the clubs could sign four foreigners – three non-Asian and one which must be Asian. The league also announced that, for the first season, matches will be broadcast on Zee Sports.
The early seasons (2007–2012)
The first ever I-League match took place on 24 November 2007 between Dempo and Salgaocar. The match, which took place at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, ended 3–0 in favour of Dempo with Chidi Edeh scoring the first ever goal in league history in the third minute. After eighteen rounds it was Dempo who came out as the first ever champions in the I-League. Viva Kerala and Salgaocar, however, ended up as the first two teams to ever be relegated from the I-League.
The next season the I-League was expanded from 10 to 12 teams. Mumbai, Chirag United, Mohammedan, and Vasco were all promoted from the I-League 2 to make the expansion possible. This however brought up early concerns over how "national" the I-League was. The 2008–09 season would see eleven of the twelve teams come from three different cities. The previous season saw all ten teams come from four different cities. Bhaichung Bhutia, then captain of the India national team, said that it was the federations job to spread the game across the country and that it needed to happen.
Regardless of the early criticism, the I-League went on as scheduled and once the 2008–09 season concluded. it was Churchill Brothers who came out on top. Then, before the 2009–10 season, the league was once again expanded from 12 teams to 14. In order to make this happen Salgaocar, Viva Kerala, Pune, and Shillong Lajong were all promoted from the 2nd Division to the I-League. This helped the I-League retain some criticism about how national the league was as now the league would be played in seven different cities/states: Goa, Kerala, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Punjab, and Shillong.
After the 2009–10 season it was Dempo who came out on top for the second time in I-League history.
Conflict of parties
On 9 December 2010 the All India Football Federation signed a 15-year, 700-crore deal with Reliance Industries and International Management Group of the United States. The deal gave IMG-Reliance exclusive commercial rights to sponsorship, advertising, broadcasting, merchandising, video, franchising, and rights to create a new football league. This deal came about after the AIFF ended their 10-year deal with Zee Sports five years early.
Two months later, on 8 February 2011, it was reported that twelve of the fourteen I-League clubs held a private meeting in Mumbai to discuss the ongoing issues related to the league. It was never revealed what was exactly talked about at this meeting. Then, on 22 February, it was announced that the same twelve I-League clubs that attended the meeting would not be signing the AFC–licensing papers needed to play in the I-League. The reasoning for this was because the I-League clubs were not happy over the fact that IMG-Reliance had so far done nothing to promote the I-League and that they demanded the I-League be made a separate entity from both the AIFF and IMG-Reliance. At this time however there were rumours that IMG-Reliance had been planning on revamping the I-League along the same lines as Major League Soccer of the United States for the 2012–13 season.
On 11 March 2012, following the disbanding of two former I-League clubs – JCT and Mahindra United, it was announced that the I-League clubs would be forming their own organization known as the Indian Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) in order to safeguard their interest and promote football in India. Every club, except for HAL and AIFF–owned Pailan Arrows, joined the newly formed organization. Soon after, it was announced that there would be a meeting held between the AIFF, IMG-Reliance, and the IPFCA on 20 April 2012. In this meeting, IMG-Reliance would present their plan on how they would grow the I-League but the meeting never occurred for reasons unknown.
Then, on 4 May 2012, the AIFF hosted the last ad hoc meeting – an annual meeting between the AFC and AIFF to assess the growth of Indian football. The AFC president at the time, Zhang Jilong, was also in attendance at this meeting. It was reported that the IPFCA would use this meeting to voice their displeasure at the AIFF and IMG-Reliance but the association never showed up at the meeting.
On 18 June 2012 the IPFCA was officially sanctioned under the Society's Act of 1960.
Despite the ongoing war between the AIFF, IMG-Reliance, and the IPFCA, the league did manage to improve its product on the field and awareness did increase during this period. It all started when the India national team participated in the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 for the first time in 27 years. Despite being knocked-out in the group stage after losing all three of their games, India came back home more popular than ever. Subrata Pal, of Pune gained the most popularity after his impressive performances in goal for India during the Asian Cup. At the same time, before the Asian Cup, Sunil Chhetri became the second Indian footballer in the modern footballing era to move abroad when he signed for the Kansas City Wizards in Major League Soccer in 2010. He also became the first exported Indian from the I-League.
The league was then given a major boost from its main derby, the Kolkata derby, between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. On 20 November 2011, 90,000 people watched at the Salt Lake Stadium as Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal 1–0. The league also saw more expansion to others areas with the promotion of United Sikkim from the 2nd Division, however, their reign was short lived as financial troubles saw them relegated the next season.
Meanwhile, while the league continued to grow, so did the players' demand. During this period plenty of Indian players were wanted on trial by foreign clubs, mainly in Europe. After his return from MLS, Sunil Chhetri and international teammate Jeje Lalpekhlua were called for trials at Scottish Premier League side Rangers in 2011. Subrata Pal had trials at RB Leipzig before finally signing for Vestsjælland in 2014. And Gurpreet Singh Sandhu underwent trials at then Premier League side Wigan Athletic and finally signing for Stabæk Fotball, Norway in 2014.
At the same time, as Indian players demand abroad increased, the demand for higher quality foreigners in the I-League also increased. Former A-League player of the year and Costa Rican international Carlos Hernández signed with Prayag United before the 2012–13 season from the Melbourne Victory. Lebanese international Bilal Najjarine also signed with Churchill Brothers in 2012.
Demotion to second tier
On 18 May 2016, IMG–Reliance, along with the AIFF and I-League representatives met during a meeting in Mumbai. At the meeting, it was proposed that starting from the 2017–18 season, the Indian Super League becomes the top-tier football league in India while the I-League gets relegated to the second tier, but the idea was not entertained by the I-League representatives.
In 2017, FIFA and the AFC had appointed a committee to look at the footballing landscape in the country which was in disarray due to two simultaneous leagues running together, and come up with solutions to re-establish a singular league pyramid which would be acceptable for everyone. In the month of June, IMG–Reliance, the AIFF and the I-League representatives, met with the AFC in Kuala Lumpur in order to find a new way forward for Indian football. The AFC were against allowing the ISL as the premier league in India while the clubs like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan wanted a complete merger of ISL and I-League. A couple weeks later, the AIFF proposed that both ISL and I-League run simultaneously on a short–term basis with the I-League champions retaining the spot for the AFC Champions League qualifying stage, while the AFC Cup qualifying stage spot going to the ISL champions. The proposal from the AIFF was officially approved by the AFC on 25 July 2017, with the ISL replacing the domestic cup competition, the Federation Cup.
On 14 October 2019, the AFC held a summit in Kuala Lumpur, chaired by the AFC Secretary General Windsor John, which involved key stakeholders from the AIFF, the FSDL, the ISL and the I-League clubs, and other major stakeholders to propose a new roadmap to facilitate the football league system in India. Based on the roadmap that was prepared by the AFC and the AIFF at the summit and was finally approved by the AFC Executive Committee on 26 October in Da Nang, in 2019–20 season, ISL will attain the country's top-tier league status, allowing the ISL premiers to play AFC Champions League and the I-League champions to play AFC Cup. In addition, starting with the 2022–23 season, I-League will lose the top-tier status, wherein the champion of the I-League will stand a chance to be promoted to the ISL with no participation fee. In its recommendation for 2024–25, it was agreed to fully implement promotion and relegation between the two leagues, and abolition of parallel league system.
Since the league began in 2007, the rules have changed almost yearly. Currently, the league has 12 teams. Each club plays each other twice during the season, once at home and the other time away. At the end of the season, the team with the most points wins the league and gains promotion to the top flight Indian Super League. In the case of a tie then head-to-head record is looked upon. Further, in the case of a tie the goal difference is looked upon the tied teams.
A total of 39 clubs have been able to play in the I-League since its inception in 2007, up to the current season.
|Aizawl||Mizoram||Aizawl||Rajiv Gandhi Stadium||20,000|
|Churchill Brothers||Goa||Vasco||Tilak Maidan||5,000|
|Delhi[b]||Delhi||New Delhi||Namdhari Stadium||1,000|
|Gokulam Kerala||Kerala||Kozhikode||EMS Stadium||50,000|
|Inter Kashi||Uttar Pradesh||Varanasi||Ekana Football Stadium||2,000|
|Mohammedan||West Bengal||Kolkata||Naihati Stadium||20,000|
|Namdhari||Punjab||Bhaini Sahib||Namdhari Stadium||1,000|
|Rajasthan United[d]||Rajasthan||Jaipur||Deccan Arena||1,500|
|Real Kashmir||Jammu & Kashmir||Srinagar||TRC Turf Ground||11,000|
|Shillong Lajong||Meghalaya||Shillong||SSA Stadium||5,000|
|Sreenidi Deccan||Telangana||Hyderabad||Deccan Arena||1,500|
- On 3 July 2023, AIFF has announced that the Federation Cup will be restored as the premier domestic cup competition in Indian football, replacing the Super Cup. It is unclear whether the competition is dissolved or discontinued, until the AIFF makes any official announcement.
- The club is based in Delhi but will play its home games in Punjab for the 2023–24 season due to the unavailability of stadiums.
- The club is based in Manipur but will play its home games in West Bengal for the 2023–24 season due to the 2023 Manipur violence
- The club is based in Rajasthan but will play its home games in Telangana for the 2023–24 season due to the unavailability of stadiums.
- The club is based in Manipur but will play its home games in West Bengal for the 2023–24 season due to the 2023 Manipur violence
All-time points table
The following is a list of clubs that have played in the I-League at any time since its formation in 2007 to the current season. Teams playing in the current season are indicated in bold.
|Indian Super League|
|I-league 2, I-League 3 & State leagues|
As of 2023[update]
|Pos.||Team||S||P||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||1st||2nd||3rd||1st App||Last / Recent app||Highest finish|
|12||Punjab FC (including Minerva Punjab season records)||7||127||52||35||40||170||149||21||191||2||0||0||2016–17||2022–23||1st|
Clubs qualifying for I-League
|2016–17||Churchill Brothers, Chennai City, Minerva Punjab|
|2023–24||Inter Kashi, Namdhari FC|
|2008||Mumbai FC, Mohammedan, United SC, Vasco SC|
|2009||Salgaocar, Viva Kerala, Shillong Lajong, Pune|
|2011||Shillong Lajong, Sporting Clube de Goa|
|2012||ONGC, United Sikkim|
|2013||Rangdajied United, Mohammedan|
|2021||Rajasthan United, Kenkre|
|2022-23||Delhi FC, Shillong Lajong|
Clubs promoted/relegated from I-League
|2007–08||Viva Kerala, Salgaocar|
|2009–10||Sporting Clube de Goa, Shillong Lajong|
|2011–12||Viva Kerala, HAL|
|2012–13||Air India, United Sikkim|
|2022–23||Kenkre FC, Sudeva Delhi FC|
- Aizawl FC were relegated, but reinstated to I-League due to withdrawal of 3 Goan clubs.
- Churchill Brothers S.C. were relegated, but reinstated to I-League after the appeal.
- Aizawl FC were relegated, but reinstated to I-League after inclusion of two I-League clubs to Indian Super League
- NEROCA FC were relegated but were reinstated by AIFF after viewing the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in India.
- Mumbai Kenkre FC were relegated but were reinstated after the closure of the Indian Arrows project.
Since the original National Football League, the Indian league has always been sponsored. When the I-League began in 2007 the last sponsor from the old National Football League, ONGC, were brought in as the sponsors, making the league be known as the ONGC I-League. However, after the 2010–11 season, the deal with ONGC was not renewed and the I-League was left without a sponsorship deal till 2013. On 24 September 2013, it was announced that telecommunications company, Airtel would be the new title sponsor of the I-League, thus making the league known as the Airtel I-League. In December 2014, it was announced that Hero MotoCorp would replace Airtel as the title sponsor for the league and hence the league would be known has Hero I-League. The league is currently without a title sponsor, as Hero decided not to renew its sponsorship deal with Indian football after 2022–23 season.
|Period||Title sponsor||Tournament name|
|Period||TV telecast||Online streaming|
|2010–17||Ten Action, Ten Sports||DittoTV|
|2017–19||Star Sports||Hotstar, JioTV|
|2022–23||Eurosport, DD Sports||Discovery plus|
Home stadiums (2022–23)
|Aizawl||Churchill Brothers||Gokulam Kerala||Mohammedan||Mumbai Kenkre||NEROCA|
|Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl||Fatorda Stadium, Margao||EMS Stadium, Kozikode||Mohammedan Sporting Ground, Kolkata||Cooperage Ground, Mumbai||Khuman Lampak Main Stadium, Imphal|
|Capacity: 20,000||Capacity: 19,000||Capacity: 50,000||Capacity: 15,000||Capacity: 5,000||Capacity: 15,000|
|Punjab||Rajasthan United||Real Kashmir||Sudeva Delhi||TRAU||Sreenidi Deccan|
|Guru Nanak stadium, Ludhiana||Rajasthan University Sports Complex,||TRC Turf Ground, Srinagar||Dr. Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi||Khuman Lampak Main Stadium, Imphal||Deccan Arena, Hyderabad|
|Capacity: 30,000||Capacity: 6,000||Capacity: 11,000||Capacity: 30,000||Capacity: 35,285|
The role of the head coach in the I-League varies from club to club. Some like to appoint technical or sporting directors as well as manager-style coaches. The All India Football Federation does impose licensing requirements for head coaches in the I-League, the rule being that the head coach must have an AFC Professional Coaching Diploma in order to coach in the I-League. However, some clubs and coaches like Subhash Bhowmick, Subrata Bhattacharya, Sukhwinder Singh and Bimal Ghosh were known for accepting a technical director role in order to bypass the head coaching requirements. This has bought about a lot of controversial news, most recently being when Churchill Brothers won the I-League after the 2012–13 season with Subhash Bhowmick not winning the "Coach of the Year" award, due to being listed as the technical director.
Seeing this, the AIFF technical director, Rob Baan, as well as others, advocated that the federation make it mandatory for both technical directors and head coaches to have an AFC Pro-Diploma. On 14 May 2014 this was officially put into act by the AIFF during their I-League licensing committee meeting.
In terms of coaching performance, after the first seven seasons of the I-League, an Indian head coach has won the I-League four times while a foreign head coach has won it three times. Zoran Đorđević of Serbia was the first ever foreign head coach to win the I-League. Italian coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese became the first coach to win back-to-back I-League titles in 2020–21 and 2021–22 seasons.
Armando Colaco was the first Indian coach to win the I-League in the league's opening season and he has the most I-League championships at three. Khogen Singh is the latest Indian coach to win the I-League in 2017–18 season.
|Nat.||Name||Club||Appointed||Time in charge|
|L.Nandakumar Singh||TRAU||27 January 2020||3 years, 309 days|
|Richard Towa||Gokulam Kerala||5 July 2022||1 year, 150 days|
|Atsushi Nakamura||Sudeva Delhi||1 September 2022||1 year, 92 days|
|Andrey Chernyshov||Mohammedan||21 May 2021||2 years, 195 days|
|Fernando Santiago Varela||Sreenidi Deccan||20 April 2021||2 years, 226 days|
|Khogen Singh||NEROCA||3 July 2021||2 years, 152 days|
|Ed Engelkes||Punjab||23 March 2022||1 year, 254 days|
|Fransesc Bonet||Rajasthan United||3 December 2021||1 year, 364 days|
|Antonio Jesús Rueda Fernández||Churchill Brothers||15 February 2022||1 year, 290 days|
|Head coach||Wins||Winning year(s)||Team|
|Armando Colaco||3||2007–08, 2009–10, 2011–12||Dempo|
|Ashley Westwood||2||2013–14, 2015–16||Bengaluru|
|Vincenzo Alberto Annese||2020–21, 2021–22||Gokulam Kerala|
|Staikos Vergetis||1||2022–23||RoundGlass Punjab|
|Kibu Vicuña||2019–20||Mohun Bagan|
|Akbar Nawas||2018–19||Chennai City|
|Sanjoy Sen||2014–15||Mohun Bagan|
|Mariano Dias||2012–13||Churchill Brothers|
|Zoran Đorđević||2008–09||Churchill Brothers|
Successful clubs by seasons
|2007–08||Dempo (1/3)||Churchill Brothers||JCT||10|
|2008–09||Churchill Brothers (1/2)||Mohun Bagan||Sporting Goa||12|
|2009–10||Dempo (2/3)||Churchill Brothers||Pune||14|
|2011–12||Dempo (3/3)||East Bengal||Churchill Brothers||14|
|2012–13||Churchill Brothers (2/2)||Pune||East Bengal||14|
|2013–14||Bengaluru (1/2)||East Bengal||Salgaocar||13|
|2014–15||Mohun Bagan (1/2)||Bengaluru||Royal Wahingdoh||11|
|2015–16||Bengaluru (2/2)||Mohun Bagan||East Bengal||9|
|2016–17||Aizawl||Mohun Bagan||East Bengal||10|
|2017–18||Minerva Punjab||NEROCA||Mohun Bagan||10|
|2018–19||Chennai City||East Bengal||Real Kashmir||11|
|2019–20||Mohun Bagan (2/2)||Not Awarded[a]||11|
|2020–21||Gokulam Kerala (1/2)||Churchill Brothers||TRAU||11|
|2021–22||Gokulam Kerala (2/2)||Mohammedan||Sreenidi Deccan||13|
|2022–23||RoundGlass Punjab||Sreenidi Deccan||Gokulam Kerala||12|
Performance by clubs
|Club||Titles||Runners-up||Third place||Winning seasons||Runners-up seasons||Third place seasons|
|Dempo||3||0||1||2007–08, 2009–10, 2011–12||2010–11|
|Churchill Brothers||2||3||1||2008–09, 2012–13||2007–08, 2009–10,
|Mohun Bagan||2||3||1||2014–15, 2019–20||2008–09, 2015–16, 2016–17||2017–18|
|Gokulam Kerala||2||0||1||2020–21, 2021–22||2022–23|
|East Bengal||0||4||3||2010–11, 2011–12, 2013–14,
|2012–13, 2015–16, 2016–17|
Stats and players
Individual game highest attendance records
|Rank||Home team||Score||Away team||Attendance||Stadium||Date|
|1||Mohun Bagan||1–0||East Bengal||90,000||Salt Lake Stadium||20 November 2011|
|2||Mohun Bagan||0–1||East Bengal||80,000||Salt Lake Stadium||24 November 2013|
|3||Mohun Bagan||2–1||East Bengal||63,756||Salt lake Stadium||
19 January 2020
|4||Mohun Bagan||1–1||East Bengal||63,342||Salt Lake Stadium||26 January 2016|
|5||Mohun Bagan||1–0||East Bengal||57,780||Salt Lake Stadium||28 March 2015|
|Season||Total goals||Matches played||Average per game|
Player transfer fees
Top transfer fees paid by I-League clubs
|Rank||Player||Fee (min)||Year||Transfer Out||Transfer In||Reference|
|1||Uga Okpara||₹7 crore (US$880,000)||2009||Enyimba||East Bengal|
|2||Odafa Onyeka Okolie||₹3 crore (US$380,000)||2011||Mohun Bagan||Churchill Brothers|
|3||Lester Fernandez||₹20 lakh (US$25,000)||2012||Pune||Prayag United|
|4||Ronaldo Oliveira||₹10 lakh (US$13,000)||2019||Salgaocar||East Bengal|
Top transfer fees received by I-League clubs
|Rank||Player||Fee (min)||Year||Transfer Out||Transfer In||Reference|
|1||Khalid Aucho||₹4 crore (US$500,000)||2019||Churchill Brothers||Misr Lel Makkasa|||
|2||Sunil Chhetri||₹1.14 crore (US$140,000)||2014||Bengaluru||Mumbai City|
|3||Pedro Manzi||₹1 crore (US$130,000)||2020||Chennai City||Albirex Niigata|
|4||Eugeneson Lyngdoh||₹90 lakh (US$110,000)||2014||Bengaluru||Pune City|
Season after season, players in the I-League compete for the golden boot title, which is awarded at the end of each season to the top scorer throughout the entire season. The most recent winner of the golden boot is Bidyashagar Singh, who won the golden boot at the end of the 2020–21 season after scoring 12 goals. Ranti Martins is both currently the holders of the most golden boot titles with five golden boots. Along with Odafa Onyeka Okolie, the two Nigerians make up the eight golden boots won by Nigerians, the most of any nationality in the league.
|2007–08||Odafe Onyeka Okolie||Churchill Brothers||22|||
|2008–09||Odafe Onyeka Okolie||Churchill Brothers||26|||
|2009–10||Odafe Onyeka Okolie||Churchill Brothers||22|||
|2012–13||Ranti Martins||Prayag United||27|||
|2013–14||Sunil Chhetri||Bengaluru FC||14|||
|Cornell Glen||Shillong Lajong|
|2014–15||Ranti Martins||East Bengal||17|||
|2015–16||Ranti Martins||East Bengal||12|||
|2016–17||Aser Pierrick Dipanda||Shillong Lajong||11|||
|2017–18||Aser Pierrick Dipanda||Mohun Bagan||13|||
|2018–19||Pedro Manzi||Chennai City FC||21|||
|Willis Plaza||Churchill Brothers S.C.|
|2020–21||Bidyashagar Singh||TRAU FC||12|||
|2022-23||David Castañeda||Sreenidi Deccan||14|
|2007–08||Bhaichung Bhutia||Mohun Bagan||9|||
|2008–09||Sunil Chhetri||East Bengal||9|||
|2009–10||Mohammed Rafi||Mahindra United||13|||
|2010–11||Jeje Lalpekhlua||Indian Arrows||13|||
|2011–12||Chinadorai Sabeeth||Pailan Arrows||9|||
|2012–13||C. K. Vineeth||Prayag United||7|||
|Sushil Kumar Singh||Mumbai|
|C. K. Vineeth||Bengaluru|
|2017–18||Abhijit Sarkar||Indian Arrows||4|||
|2018–19||Jobby Justin||East Bengal||9|||
|2021–22||Thahir Zaman||Gokulam Kerala||5|
|Shubho Paul||Sudeva Delhi|
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the league was suspended after 14 March 2020. Only champions were awarded and remaining prize money in the league was equally divided among the remaining participating clubs and no individual prize money was also not awarded. However, Aser Pierrick Dipanda of Minerva Punjab scored the highest number of goals, having scored 12 goals in 15 matches; whereas, Rochharzela of Aizawl scored 6 goals in 15 matches, highest among Indians.
The I-League has only been awarding a proper trophy to the champion since 2013 when the 2012–13 season champions, Churchill Brothers, won the league. Before 2013 the I-League champions received a basic trophy. The new trophy was designed in Europe and is modeled along the lines of the champion trophies in the top European leagues. Regarding the trophy, the AIFF general secretary, Kushal Das, said: "It is the endeavour of AIFF to practice the best principles of other leagues and accordingly we thought to create a more contemporary look to the I-League trophy in line with trophies given in European leagues".
End of the season I-League awards were previously conducted by the Football Players' Association of India and All India Football Federation since 2008–09 season. Currently the awards include the Hero of the league, the golden boot, the golden glove, the best head coach (Syed Abdul Rahim Award), the best defender (Jarnail Singh Award), the best midfielder and the emerging player of the league, all of which are sponsored by Hero.
Hero of the League
|2018–19||Pedro Manzi||Chennai City|
Syed Abdul Rahim Award
Emerging player of the season
Foreign player of the year
Indian Player of the Season
Fans' player of the year
I-League clubs in Asia
Traditionally, I-League clubs have done particularly well in the AFC Cup. In 2008 Dempo managed to reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup before being defeated by Al-Safa of Lebanon. East Bengal also managed to reach the semi-finals in 2013 before being knocked-out by Al-Kuwait. Bengaluru is the only I-League club to reach the AFC Cup Final in 2016 but lost to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya of Iraq.
|Season||AFC Cup||Position||AFC Champions League||Position|
|2008–09||Mohun Bagan||Group stage||Dempo||Play-off Round|
|2009–10||East Bengal||Group stage||Churchill Brothers||Play-off Round|
|Churchill Brothers||Round of 16|
|2010–11||East Bengal||Group stage||Dempo||Play-off Round|
|Dempo||Round of 16|
|2011–12||East Bengal||Group stage||Salgaocar||DNP|
|2012–13||East Bengal||Semi-finals||Churchill Brothers||DNP|
|Churchill Brothers||Group stage|
|2013–14||Churchill Brothers||Round of 16||Pune||Qualifying Round 1|
|2014–15||Bengaluru||Round of 16||Bengaluru||Preliminary Round 1|
|East Bengal||Group stage|
|2015–16||Mohun Bagan||Round of 16||Mohun Bagan||Preliminary Round 2|
|2016–17||Bengaluru||Inter-zone finals||Bengaluru||Preliminary Round 2|
|Mohun Bagan||Group stage|
|2017–18||Aizawl||Group Stage||Aizawl||Play-off Round|
|2019||Minerva Punjab||Group stage||Minerva Punjab||Preliminary Round 2|
|2018–19||Chennai City||Cancelled||Chennai City||Preliminary Round 1|
|2019–20||ATK Mohun Bagan||Inter-zone semi-finals|
|2020–21||Gokulam Kerala||Group stage|
- Football in India
- History of Indian football
- List of football clubs in India
- 2021–23 Indian football club competition play-offs for AFC
- IFA Shield
- NFL Second Division
- NFL Third Division
- "History of I-League". i-league.org. AIFF. Archived from the original on 14 June 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
- "AIFF Executive Committee inducts five new clubs into Hero I-League, Federation Cup restored". the-aiff.com.
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