India, like the rest of the world, looks to phase out of coronavirus lockdown and get the sporting world to resume action. In accordance with that, All India Football Federation (AIFF) plans to begin the upcoming 2020-21 season with the Futsal Championship.
AIFF had thrown in the idea of the inaugural Futsal Championship last year in December when it invited ISL, I-League and Second Division league clubs to confirm participation.
While AIFF had initially planned for the competition to be held in June-July, it is now being planned for early September this year, IANS reports.
The report further states that in the AIFF executive committee meeting on Wednesday, the idea to begin the season with the Championship was discussed.
Ten clubs from ISL, I-League and Second Division league have confirmed their participation so far and those clubs are Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters, Gokulam Kerala FC, Aizawl FC, TRAU FC, Rajasthan FC, Mohammedan Sporting and ARA FC, according to the report.
"We are planning to have the inaugural Futsal Club Championship as a curtain raiser for the new season. It could take place in end of August or first week of September depending on the situation around," AIFF Leagues CEO Sunando Dhar told IANS on Thursday.
Furthermore, despite the trouble in the club functioning, East Bengal, along with Jamshedpur FC, are reportedly in talks to join the roster as well.
The report also said that the champions of the futsal leagues conducted by the state teams may also take part.
The rules of the tournament reportedly are as follows:
1. It will be a 16-team league-cum-knockout tournament, which could run for three weeks.
2. Shillong has been marked as the possible venue for the tournament.
3. No foreign players will be involved in the inaugural edition.
IANS further reported Gokulam Kerala FC as saying that they can approach legendary IM Vijayan to feature for them as the 51-year-old still takes part in sevens football tournament in and around Malabar.
The last time a country-wide futsal league was held in India was in 2016 and it was called Premier Futsal. It was a franchise-based tournament organised by Luis Figo and featured international stars like Ronaldinho and Paul Scholes. AIFF, however, never recognised it, banned players to take part in it and later, it was defunct.