Shillong, May 17: In a further step to expand the grassroots football presence in the state, the Meghalaya Football Association announced the impending launch of the first dedicated amateur football league in the state, which will kick-off in June.
The league will feature 20 teams who will compete over 10 months in a round-robin format. It will be open only to amateurs, with the expected kick-off date scheduled for 11th June.
Addressing a press conference to announce the impending launch, MFA Treasurer Wanshan Kharkrang and MFA Adviser Arki Nongrum explained that the MFA Amateur League will be a boon to the football-loving population of Meghalaya and is aimed at spreading the game further in the state by fostering community bonding through healthy competition while promoting a fit and active lifestyle.
The inaugural edition of the league will be conducted in Shillong, with a long-term plan to expand the outreach to other regions of Meghalaya in the coming years.
Amateur leagues exist in other parts of India and globally. As essentially grassroots events, amateur leagues have high participation and the potential for large-scale community impact.
Meghalaya is no stranger to amateur competition. However, the MFA Amateur League is primed to be a professionally-managed competition on a scale never before seen in the state. The competition is scheduled to last for 10 months, engaging each team in more than 35 matches across the season while ensuring professional technical conduct, medical support and all operational aspects commensurate with other professional competitions across the country.
The league will also focus on a robust long-term legacy by providing the state’s ever increasing number of referees, physios and coaches opportunities to hone their skills and gain experience.
“The MFA Amateur League is another step towards the MFA’s goal to broaden football’s footprint in the state. Amateur leagues are part and parcel of grassroots football activities around the world and give the chance to non-professionals to have fun, stay active, form new friendships and even reveal undiscovered talent in a professional and structured environment,” MFA President Larsing Ming Sawyan was quoted as saying in a press release. “The MFA has been working hard to make this league – a 10 months-long event – a reality and we are proud to launch it in 2022, a milestone year for our state. We are confident that the league will find a welcome place in Meghalaya’s football calendar.”