Shillong, Mar 3: The Shillong Sports Association has decided that there will be no relegation from this season’s Third Division, while four teams will be promoted from the Third Division to the Second and four from the Fourth Division to next year’s Third.

This was revealed through an office circular signed by SSA General Secretary SS Rapthap on 28th February and seen by TSR today. In it, he said that the SSA’s council decided this when it met on 24th February.

There has been a notable reduction in the number of participating clubs in the SSA’s football leagues – the Third Division should have featured 24 teams but only 19 participated this season. Two Second Division sides also did not take part – Laitumkhrah and Riatsamthiah.

“The teams that did not participate in the Third Division 2021 shall be penalised as per the SSA Football Tournament Rules,” the circular said, which probably means they will drop down to the Fourth Division if they rejoin next year. It does not mention what will happen to the two absent clubs from the Second Division, which is scheduled to conclude on Saturday.

The lack of relegation from the Third Division gives a breather to Lawmali Pyllun and Umlyngka, who failed to score a point this season.

Usually, only clubs that reach the finals of the Third Division (Nongrah and Mawtawar this year) and Fourth Division (Tynring and Pay For Right Academy) are promoted.

However, this time, the SSA said that all semifinalists from the two leagues will be bumped upwards. That means that Mylliem Lum and Pomlakrai (losing semifinalists in the Fourth Division) and Laitlyngkot and Sohryngkham (losing semifinalists in the Third Division) will be promoted as well.

It is yet to be seen whether something similar will be required for the higher divisions. Time will tell if any clubs decline to participate.

Meanwhile, the circular concluded, “This proposal has been considered and treated as a special case for this year and it will not create a precedent in future.”

(TSR file photo of the Fourth Division 2021)

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