IFA Shield now U-19 tourney

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 10.01.15
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Calcutta: Once a blue-riband tournament, the IFA Shield is now going to be an under-19 tournament.

The organisers have decided to make the change from this year onwards, and one of the reasons for this is the perennial problem of clash of dates with the I-League.

The main round of the tournament will begin in the last week of April where ten teams will participate. Of the 10, four will be under-19 teams of top European clubs. The IFA has Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United on the radar and secretary Utpal Ganguli said: “The city will see future stars of world football.”

Ganguli had a meeting with Star Sports on Thursday and the broadcasters have agreed on principle to telecast live all the matches. “The meeting was fruitful and we have promised top European teams for the meet,” Ganguli said on Friday.

The IFA Shield has a rich tradition, but post the National League, like other big tournaments, it too has gradually lost its glamour and relevance.

Mohun Bagan’s 1911 triumph over East Yorkshire regiment, East Bengal beating Mohun Bagan 5-0 in the 1975 final — these are part of our folklore. The IFA also should be blamed for the tournament losing its sheen. Poor planning and constant change in fixtures even after the main round had got underway had became regular features.

It remains to be seen, whether their latest twist can revive the tournament, or whether it will slide further.