Shillong, Nov 12: Already much delayed, the two top tiers of the Shillong Sports Association’s football pyramid, the First Division and Shillong Premier League, will now only begin in the second week of January 2024, the SSA has announced.
Even this start date seems doubtful, though, after it was recently revealed that the 5th Meghalaya Games will run from 15th to 20th January.
Eligible teams seeking to participate must pay an entry fee of Rs 1,500 before 8th December 2023. Teams that have already paid the renewal affiliation fee for 2023 are eligible to participate.
There is no change to the champions’ prize money of Rs 3 lakh but the runners-up will now take home Rs 1.5 lakh, an increase of Rs 50,000. Mawlai SC were the undisputed champions last season, winning 11 out of 14 matches.
Registration forms of Rs 50 per sheet will be supplied by the SSA to the club on the day that the entry fee is received.
The player registration fee is Rs 50 per player and clubs can register not more than 40 and no late registration will be entertained. Players must complete registration at the SSA office on or before 20th December and must bring a copy of their Covid-19 vaccination certificate with them at the time. Teams can also register a maximum of five officials, including coach and physio. The appointed coaches must have an AFC C Licence at least and physios should also be qualified and submit relevant certificates to the SSA.
The SSA will scrutinise all the players before the start of the league and reserves the right to reject players without valid documents and the association will not entertain protests as to its decisions.
This year, the SSA is allowing SPL clubs to take on loan a maximum of three players from lower division clubs. It had earlier announced that the figure would be five players but this has apparently been reduced.
In the First Division, the entry fee is Rs 1,000. Teams can register a maximum of 30 players and coaches must have an AFC D Licence at the very least.
The champions will still receive Rs 1 lakh as prize money but the runners-up will see a boost, now getting Rs 50,000 compared to the Rs 40,000 from last season.
For the First Division, players cannot be taken on loan from the lower divisions. All the other details remain the same as listed above for the SPL.
Sawmer SC were the champions last year and Nongthymmai SC the runners-up. Both have been bumped up to the SPL for this season, while Laitkor SC and Mylliem SC have been promoted from the Second Division to the First.