The I-League, officially known as the Hero I-League due to sponsorship reasons, is an Indian professional league for men's association football clubs. Between 1996 and 2007, the league was known as National Football League. At the top of the Indian football league system, it is one of the two premier football leagues in the country, the other being the Indian Super League. Contested by 10 clubs (currently), it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the I-League 2nd Division as well as a system of direct-entry.
Seasons run from November to May, with teams playing 18 matches each, totaling 90 matches in the season. Most games are usually played in the afternoons during the weekends or midweeks.
The competition was formed in 2007 as the ONGC I-League. It was done in an effort to professionalize the game in India. The I-League is a successor to the previous National Football League and is regarded internationally as the primary competition in Indian football. The league's first official broadcaster was Zee Sports.
Since the league inception, a total of five clubs have been crowned champions of the I-League. clubs to since the inception of the I-League in 2007, the teams that have won the title are Aizawl F.C. (once), Mohun Bagan A.C. (once), Bengaluru FC (twice), Churchill Brothers (twice), Dempo (thrice), and Salgaocar (once) respectively. The title has only been won thrice by a team from outside the state of Goa with the first six of eight editions of the league being won by Goan sides. The current champions of the I-League are Aizawl F.C., who became the first north-east team to win the I-League on April 30, 2017.Close