New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) Eighteen teams, including seven ISL clubs’ reserve outfits, will contest in the second division league 2017-18, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said today. Also Read - Train Services Resume In Kashmir Valley After 11 Months of COVID-19 Restrictions

The AIFF’s League Committee met at the Football House yesterday and took some vital decisions on the forthcoming second division league including the number of teams, the format of the tournament and the schedule. Also Read - On Day 1 Of J&K Visit, Foreign Envoys Impressed With Peaceful DDC Polls | All You Need to Know

It does not include ATK, Northeast United FC and Mumbai City FC who will compete in the preliminary round, which will kick off on March 16 and continue until May 15. Teams will play on a home and away basis within the three groups. Also Read - We Were On High Alert, Says Jammu Police After Detecting 7-kg IED On Pulwama Attack Anniversary

The winners of each group plus the best second-placed team would qualify for the final round. However, if reserve teams of ISL clubs finish as winners or runners-up in any group, the position will be passed on to the next non-ISL team.

Four teams will play at the central venue on a ‘single-leg’ league system which will run from May 21 to 27. The winners would be promoted to the next tier of Indian football.

Each club can register maximum three foreign players for the second division league out of which one player has to be a national of an AFC Member Association.

The groups of the preliminary round:

Group A: Real Kashmir, Lonestar Kashmir, Delhi Dynamos FC (reserves), Hindustan FC, Delhi United, FC Pune City (reserves) Group B: Madhya Bharat SC, FC Goa (reserves), Kerala Blasters (reserves), Ozone FA, Fateh Hyderabad AFC, FC Kerala Group C: TRAU FC, Langsning FC, Mohammedan Sporting, JSW Bengaluru FC (reserves), Jamshedpur FC (reserves), Chennaiyin FC (reserves).

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.