Should the Government of India decide to relax the curbs on live sporting events in the near future, the next season of Indian football is likely to start with the Futsal Club Championship in Meghalaya, Goal understands.
The original plan was to hold the tournament in July 2020, but due to the Coronavirus crisis, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) now wants to organise it as the curtain-raiser for the next season.
"The plans are to start the season with the Futsal tournament around late August or early September (subject to Government clearances). We have reached out to all I-League, ISL (Indian Super League), Second Division clubs and state associations who have been organising futsal. Around 10 clubs have confirmed their participation. We hope to start the tournament with 16 teams. The state champions will also get to participate. For example, Delhi has a futsal champion. Mizoram has been planning to do a Futsal Championship and they would do that before the tournament starts," informed Sunando Dhar, CEO of I-League, to Goal.
"I-League teams like Gokulam Kerala, East Bengal, TRAU, Aizawl and ISL sides like Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters are looking forward to the competition," he added.
The clubs can register their first team players, their reserve team players, and even U18 players for the tournament. Former prominent players are also expected to feature in this tournament. However, no foreigners will be allowed to register in its first edition.
"Legends will definitely increase the glamour quotient of the tournament. If IM Vijayan turns up for Gokulam or Bhaichung Bhutia plays for East Bengal then it will definitely be a crowd-puller," opined Dhar.
In an Executive Committee meeting in December 2019, it was unanimously decided that a Futsal club completion will be a part of the AIFF competition calendar from 2020. There were deliberations on Futsal once again when the committee met on Wednesday evening and it seems that in the next season the inaugural edition of the tournament will be launched.