I League is the top tier league in the Indian football league system. It was started in 2007-08 and the first edition was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri. Manmohan Singh. It replaced the National Football League which lasted for 11 seasons. The I League over the years has aimed to professionalize the league system in India. I-League now is a separate legal entity and professionally structured with a full time CEO.
The first game was played on 24 November 2007 and was contested between Dempo Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club which the former won by a three goal margin.
I League has 2 divisions i.e. 1st and 2nd where in the relegated teams from the 1st division move to the lower division and the top teams from the 2nd division move on the higher division every year.
The First National Football League was held in 1996-97 with 8 Teams and JCT were the winners and Churchill Brothers, Goa finished Runners Up. The aim was to develop professionalism in Indian Football .In 1997-98 the number of teams was raised to 10 and in 1998-99 it was raised to 12 teams. The system of relegation started in the 3rd National Football League. Two teams were promoted and two teams were relegated .In the 2004-05 season, four teams were relegated and only two teams were Promoted.
The number of teams in the 2010-11season is 14. ONGC and HAL are the newly promoted teams in this edition of I-League, while AIFF XI replaced Mahindra United.