The Hero Indian Women's League is all set for a return in the 2021-22 season, as it will be held in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, from April 15 onwards.
This season's Hero IWL will feature 12 teams that will fight it out for the top prize in Indian Women's Football and will fight it out in a league format from April 15 to May 26, with the champions of the tournament getting the chance to play in the next edition of the AFC Women's Club Championship. The matches will be played at the Kalinga Stadium, the Seventh Battalion Ground and the Capital Ground.
Defending Champions Gokulam Kerala FC, who also join the league as the champions of Kerala, will also be joined by the champion teams from 10 other states – Odisha Police (Odisha), Hans Women FC (Delhi), Kickstart FC Karnataka (Karnataka), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Sethu Madurai (Tamil Nadu), PIFA Sports Colaba FC (Maharashtra), Mata Rukmani FC (Chhattisgarh), Sirvodem Sports Club (Goa), Indian Arrows (AIFF's Developmental Team), SSB Women FC (West Bengal), Sports Odisha (Odisha), and one club from the Hero IWL Qualifiers.
The qualifiers of the Hero IWL will take place in New Delhi from April 1 to 5, where four clubs – Guwahati City FC, Golazo FC, ARA FC, and YWC will fight it out at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi, in a round-robin format with the top team proceeding to the tournament proper.
"It's great that we are being able to have the Hero IWL once again, and that too in Odisha, a state that has so closely been linked with Indian football over the past," said AIFF Leagues and Development CEO Mr Sunando Dhar. "We will have the Hero IWL in a league format this time, which will allow the clubs to play more number of matches, and the champions teams from all the states will be fighting it out for the top prize."
"We will also have the qualifiers for the Hero IWL in New Delhi, and that will further help the other teams from other states get the opportunity to participate in the league as well," he further stated. "We wish all the clubs the very best in their endeavours."
The Hero IWL proper will also be played in a round-robin format, with every team playing each other once. The team that finishes their respective 11 matches with the highest number of points will be declared the winners of the Hero IWL 2021-22 season.