Shillong, Jun 21: The Shillong Sports Association’s marquee football event, the Shillong Premier League 2024, will begin in September, according to the revised calendar.

The 2024 season will begin next week with the U-20 Fourth Division, the lowest level in the SSA’s men’s football pyramid, on 27th June.

This was informed by the new SSA General Secretary, Dipshon Lyngdoh Nongbri, here today. The SSA’s tournament committee met on Wednesday evening to chalk out the calendar and other details.

SHILLONG PREMIER LEAGUE 2024 (scheduled start: second week of September)

SPL 2023 had to be cut down to just a single leg (with semifinals and final) due to several postponements and was only held this year, with Mawlai SC retaining their title. The 2024 edition will be a full double leg league with no knockouts, ie the winners will be the club that finishes at the top when all the round robin matches have been played. This year there will be 10 clubs in the SPL as the SSA decided that there would be no relegation from the truncated 2023 edition but promotion would go ahead.

FIRST DIVISION 2024 (scheduled start: third week of August)

In fact, there is to be no relegation from any of the divisions and the SSA is also looking at offering one vacant spot in the First Division via auction. The slot was left vacant by Rising FC a few years ago and was never filled.

The auction is open to existing clubs in the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions. No bid under Rs 2 lakh will be entertained. Other details can be obtained from the SSA but interested teams will have to act fast as the last date to receive bids is 24th June by 3PM.

The auction winner will be exempt from relegation for one season and they will be allowed to sign five players in a “special transfer window”, special because the SSA’s inter-club transfer window has already closed.

U-20 FOURTH DIVISION 2024 (scheduled start: 27th June)

The 2024 season will kick off next week with the U-20 Fourth Division. There will be a slight tweak to the rules this year, with teams allowed to sign five players (out of a total of 25) above the age of 20, though only three of these can be fielded in the starting 11.

The idea behind this is to give players who have crossed the age limit but who aren’t able to find clubs in the higher divisions to still keep playing.

The THIRD DIVISION will get going from the third week of July, followed by the SECOND DIVISION in the first week of August.

The U-12, U-14, U-16 tournaments and WOMEN’S LEAGUE will take place only in December-January during the school holidays. (The Women’s League has so far largely featured girls of school-going age.)

The SSA plans to hold all its tournaments this year in the SSA Stadium at First Ground and the Meghalaya Football Association’s Third Ground.

CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE (scheduled start: November)

The SSA has also decided to feature a new tournament this year, a league-cum-knockout event featuring the champions and runners-up of its men’s football pyramid. With five SSA divisions in all, this would involve 10 clubs split into two groups, with knockouts to follow the round robin stage.


The General Secretary was also quizzed on the integrity of SSA matches. Without naming names (as we have no proof), matches involving two or three clubs in SPL 2023 seemed rather suspect in terms of match fixing.

This had been noted by the SSA at the time and it had even sought the opinion and advice of the MFA on the subject. However, the SSA members are not experts on match fixing and there exists a “good faith” relationship between the association and its clubs – an expectation that they will abide by the rules and spirit of the game and not indulge in fixing.

Nevertheless, Lyngdoh Nongbri said that the tournament committee has taken up the responsibility and that “extreme incidents” will be looked into, though he couldn’t speak publicly about it much.


Meanwhile, the SSA has instructed that all SPL clubs will have to have coaches that have a minimum of an AFC A or B Licence, with First Division coaches to have at least a C Licence. There would be no minimum requirement in the lower leagues but the teams there are “encouraged” to have qualified coaches.

Clubs have also been instructed to register their coaches as part of an MFA move to know exactly how many there are in Meghalaya and what qualification they possess.

SPL clubs will have to register their players on the All India Football Federation’s Centralised Registration System this year. The CRS is anĀ online electronic information system that is meant to keep track of all player registrations, contract renewals and domestic player transfers in the country, thereby simplifying the processes and improving transparency.

Finally, the SSA is also aiming to enhance the prize money across its tournaments. The SPL champions took home Rs 3 lakh but clubs at the bottom earn substantially less than that – the Fourth Division 2023 and Women’s League 2023 champions only got Rs 30,000 each.

However, Lyngdoh Nongbri also informed that the prize money doesn’t tell the whole story, as the SSA also shells out 30% of the gate collection to the participating teams. From each match the winner gets 20% of the ticket income and the loser 10% (or 15% each in case of a draw).

Bigger prize purses will probably mean a bigger budget – the SSA spent around Rs 55 to 60 lakh last year across its tournaments.

(Representative photo)

Facebook Comments