Sports reporter GUWAHATI, May 12 – The Assam Football Association (AFA), in association with Celebrity Management Group (CMG), is planning to start the Assam State Premier League with 12 clubs. The championship was launched here today with a presentation of the format. The State football body will start the league from May 29 in different venues and the final is scheduled for July 25. The teams have been divided into two zones with six teams each.
AFA secretary Ankur Dutta (2nd right), CMG (head of operations) Kaushik Chatterjee (right) during the launching ceremony of the Assam State Premier League in Guwahati on Tuesday. – UB Photos
The Upper Assam zone will consist of Barekuri FC (Tinsukia), Trinayanjyoti FC (Dibrugarh), Golaghat Rhyno (Golaghat), Moran Town Club (Sivasagar), Jorhat Town Club (Jorhat), KA and Morning Star FC (Diphu). The clubs in the lower Assam zone are – Udalguri FC (Udalguri), Tezpur United FC (Tezpur), Barhungkha AC (Kokrajhar), FC Green Valley (Guwahati), Global FC (Gossaigaon) and Guwahati FC (Guwahati).
Addressing a press conference here today, AFA secretary Ankur Dutta said the clubs will play in home and away basis and the tournament will be organised in league format at the preliminary stage. The four top teams from each zone will qualify got the quarterfinal stage.
Dutta revealed that the championship has been organised with an aim to make club football of the State more professional. The losers in the preliminary league phase will get Rs 1 lakh each while the quarterfianl and semifinal losers will pocket Rs 1.5 lakh and 2.5 lakh respectively. The champion and runners-up teams will be richer by Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh respectively.
The home clubs will have to host the matches in association with the district sports association.
All the clubs may include a maximum of three overseas players and it is mandatory to register a minimum of five local players.
Dutta further said some premier football centres of the State like Nagaon and Silchar have to be omitted for some technical reasons.
CMG (head of operations) Kaushik Chatterjee said it will be a Rs 2 crore tournament and they are confident that the championship will change the footballing environment in Assam. He hoped all the participating clubs will be able to create an atmosphere among their supporters who will help the clubs in organising the home matches successfully.
AFA president Hemendra Nath Brahma said this championship will have a huge effect on Assam football in a positive way. It is, however, believed that some of the clubs may not be able to host their home matches in a befitting manner as they are financially not sound enough.