NEW DELHI: India’s first professional football league will kick-off on September 30 with the league continuing till the end of February 2008.
This decision was taken by the executive committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which met here on Friday to discuss emergent issues ahead of the coming season. The AIFF General Secretary has been authorised to prepare the schedule and issue it by August 10.
With the non availability of venues a perennial problem for the AIFF, the federation has decided to enter into an agreement with the state associations and stadium authorities alike to ensure grounds are available for the Professional League.
The AIFF has opened a direct entry for corporate clubs in the Second Division Professional football league under the new format that was approved at the meeting. The only criteria listed was that the clubs should be affiliated to the respective state associations and meet the club licensing criteria.
However, the two clubs demoted from the First Division of the 11th NFL and the four clubs that stood third to sixth in the final phase of the Second Division in the last season, will be admitted directly, according to the AIFF press release.
Among other decisions taken at the meeting, the AIFF has granted the sub-junior National championship to Uttarakhand from September 15 to October 15; Senior National Women’s championship to IFA, Bengal.
The AIFF, however, failed to finalise the venue for the Federation Cup. The likely states identified for hosting the tournament are Assam, Punjab, Orissa and Kerala.