Calcutta: After having requested the All India Football Federation to let them host the Santosh Trophy for the forthcoming season, the Indian Football Association has now decided it’s no longer interested in hosting the annual inter-state meet.
A meeting of the IFA office-bearer’s on Thursday decided that the Santosh Trophy has lost much of its glamour and it was pointless spending so much money for the meet. “We would rather involve ourselves in the developmental programmes than waste money on the Santosh Trophy,” a senior IFA official said.
Meanwhile, the IFA has decided to host a camp for the district players before the transfers start from April 16. While the lower division transfers will end on May 1, the First and Super Division transfers will take place from May 2-16.
Elaborating on the district players’ camp, the IFA functionary said: “The club officials can see the players on trial. The IFA will also provide lodging for the whole year for the boys selected by the clubs.”
The IFA’s calendar for 2002-03 kicks off with the Calcutta Football League, starting in the first week of June while the Super Division starts from June 15. However, the Big Four — East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting and Tollygunge Agragami —will take the field after July 15, after the completion of the IFA Shield, which starts on July 1.
The meeting also decided to make the Shield a nine-team affair. The IFA would try to rope in one quality foreign team.
Making a comeback will be the cluster tournament, scratched off this season due to shortage of time. The cluster will have 48 teams and the champions will be eligible to take the field in the Shield.
New broadcaster to be approached
Nigel Empson, CEO of FMM International, a company which has worked in the Premier League and the Chinese League, said his company would try to get new telecasters for the CFL and the IFA Shield. ESPN are the current official telecasters. “None of the matches are shown live and that does not help the cause of football,” Empson said. He had come to the city on a five-day visit to explore the possibilities of introducing a professional set-up in the city’s football scene.