The preliminary round groups of the I-League 2nd Division have been announced with six ISL reserves sides set to take part this season.
Last year, Real Kashmir had emerged as the winner of the I-League 2nd Division and securing the qualification to the top division, the Hero I-League this year. They have performed well and currently sit on the second spot in the I-League standings with four wins out of eight matches played.
The format of the I-League 2nd Division
16 teams were divided into three groups with matches to be played on home and away basis. The winners of each group and the best second-placed team would qualify for the final round. However, if reserve teams of any of the ISL clubs finish as winners or runners-up in any group, the position will be passed on onto the next non-ISL team. The final round will be played at a central venue, the winners of which would be promoted to the I-League.
The three preliminary round groups of the 2nd Division are as follows:
Group 1: Lonestar Kashmir, Hindustan FC, ARA FC, FC Goa (Reserves), Bengaluru FC (Reserves)
Group 2: Fateh Hyderabad FC, Ozone FC, South United FC, Kerala Blasters FC (Reserves), Chennaiyin FC (Reserves)
Group 3: Chhinga Veng, TRAU FC, New Barrackpore Rainbow, Mohammedan Sporting, ATK (Reserves), Jamshedpur FC (Reserves)