ISL-esque League part of MDFA’s new season calendar

The Mumbai District Football Association on Wednesday declared a tentative calendar for its 2015/16 season which included starting dates for all the Divisions in a press conference held at the the Cooperage stadium.

The highlight of the calendar though is quite clearly the inclusion of an ISL-esque league which will feature eight franchises from different parts of Mumbai.

The games will be played on home-away basis and some venues like Bandra, Colaba and Borivali have been short listed by the authorities. This move aims at harnessing the growing popularity of such leagues in the city and use it to promote and popularize the sport in every nook and corner of the city.

“The ISL has been a huge success and we have seen many such leagues become popular in recent times. So we are planning to start a similar league somewhere in early 2016. We have thought of certain places like Colaba, Bandra and Borivali which will have their own teams and teams will play both home and away”, said the MDFA Secretary, Mr. Uday Banerjee.

The new league though will be an addition to the main leagues that the MDFA has been holding over the years. But the MDFA Secretary, Uday Banerjee believed the concept is still in its budding stage and will require another two months to be concrete. “The idea is still in the pipeline and we are constantly working on it. We will be able to come up with a more concrete plan within two months”.

Apart from the innovative league, MDFA will begin its season with the 2nd Division kicking off from Saturday, 25th July 2015.

A total of 66 teams divided into 9 groups will be participating in this league and the top two teams from each group will qualify for the play-offs.

Subsequently, the First Division League will commence from the 3rdweek of August. The league will consisit of 54 teams divided into 6 groups and the two top teams will progress to the play-offs.

The season for the Elite Division teams will commence with the Independence Cup, a 9-a-side knockout tournament to be played at the St. Xavier’s Ground, Parel on Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15.

The 14-team Elite Division League will kick-off from the 1st week of September and the matches will be played at the Cooperage ground and at the Andheri Sports Complex.

The Super Division League which consists of 27 teams is scheduled to commence from the 1st week of October and will also be played at the Cooperage ground and Andheri SC.

The Third Division League boasting of 96 teams is expected to start at the K.J. Somaiya College ground, Chunabatti from October.

The Women’s League with 14 teams will be conducted at the Karnatak SA ground, Cross Maidan from January, 2016.

The legendary Nadkarni Cup which traditionally features all the Elite Division teams will be played at either Cooperage or the Andheri Sports Complex ground and not at the RCF ground as it had been in recent years. The event is expected to be late in August as a curtain raiser for the Elite Division or may even be played in the month of October, depending upon the availability of the ground.

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