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IFA Shield likely in Sept.

Calcutta: The IFA Shield is likely to held in September. If a new AIFF calendar is reason enough for the state governing body to seek a new date for the tournament, the option of a foreign teamís participation is also weighing heavily on the minds of the IFA top brass.

At present, an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ban stops the IFA to invite any outfit from overseas in the Shield, following the violence-marred final in 2001-2002 between East Bengal and Palmeiras SC of Brazil. This year, the tournamentís dates had been tentatively fixed in early July.

However, the issue of the ban is expected to come up for discussion in an AFC meeting in July and the IFA wants to wait till then to explore the possibility of foreign teamís participation.

IFA secretary Subrata Dutta, though, said on Tuesday that he would come to a decision about the participation of foreign teams next week.

According to the new AIFF calendar, Federation Cup will be held from July 25 to August 7 in the city, followed by the L.G. Cup in Vietnam from August 22 to 31. The Vietnam meet has been advanced by a month and the players are likely to join the national camp within August 10. India are the defending champions of the tournament.

Meanwhile, the AFC Champions League qualifiers for East Bengal and Salgaocar will now be held in January next year.

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