Shillong, Jun 27: Shillong could play host to a ‘Futsal Club Championship’ in October this year, if all goes to plan.
The league committee of the All India Football Federation discussed this and other topics at a meeting held virtually yesterday.
Shillong was on track to host the inaugural national futsal competition last year, that is until the Covid-19 menace arrived. The plan last year was to hold state-level tournaments, with the top teams from these qualifying for the nationals. This may or may not be in the AIFF’s thinking this time around.
All players taking part in AIFF competitions will have to take the Covid-19 vaccine prior to taking the field. Those who are below 18 years old or who are recovering from the coronavirus and are thus not eligible to get the vaccine will be exempt, though they will be subject to extra Covid tests.
It was announced at the meeting that the I-League will comprise 13 teams this year – all 11 from the 2020-21 season plus Sreenidhi FC (which gained direct entry) and one promoted club. The league will likely start in December and will be played, as was the case last season, in West Bengal only. Also like last season, the format remains the same – all teams playing each other once and then being divided into a championship group and relegation group.
A maximum of 10 clubs will take part in the I-League Qualifiers, which will be held in Bangalore from September. State associations will be able to nominate at most two clubs to take part.
No final decision was taken on the Indian Women’s League, the 2020-21 edition of which was postponed in April. The AIFF will first consult with authorities in Odisha, which was meant to host the event, before reaching a decision. If no IWL is possible, then the champions of the previous edition – Gokulam Kerala – will participate in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021, a pilot tournament of the Asian Football Confederation.