CHENNAI: It is now confirmed that the National football championship, for the Santosh Trophy, will get underway on May 24 with matches in the eight clusters to be held in Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Chennai.

According to an official in the Tamil Nadu Football Association, the approval on the starting date had just come in from the AIFF. “We still have to decide on whether the championship should be a fortnight-long affair or go up to 18 days,” he said.

The only change from the earlier proposal of the TFA with regard to the venues for the cluster matches is that Tirunelveli will not host any match.

“The ground condition at the Anna stadium there is far from playable and the District Collector has officially intimated to the Association the District authorities’ difficulties to take up any improvement work at this juncture,” the official said.

The earlier plan was to allot two clusters to four centres (Tirunelveli included) but some amendment to that plan will have to be made now. The matches at Tiruchi will be held at St. Joseph’s College ground and at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore.

Chennai will be the sole venue for the championship from the quarterfinal league phase, expected to start in the first week of June. — Special Correspondent

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