Kolkata, Feb 7:: The inaugural season of Premier League Soccer(PLS) is all scheduled to kick off from March 24th.
At a meeting between the Celebrity Management Group, who are organizing the tournament, Indian Football Association officials and the franchisee owners in Kolkata on Monday, the dates for commencement of PLS and the pre-season practice matches were finalized. As the story stands so far, PLS will have to take the Indian Premier League (IPL) head on due to an obvious clash of the fixture dates but the officials are optimistic about the outcome. Indian Football Association (IFA) secretary Utpal Ganguly said, “I believe the condition of the IPL today is such that they would be worried about losing viewership due to PLS matches.”
At an announcement made during the post meeting briefing, Grey Mind Communications were confirmed as the franchisee owner of the Haldia team with the Argentine Juan Pablo Sorin as their icon and John Barnes as their coach, but their name remains undecided. The auctioning of the domestic players “with base prices of 2-3 lakhs will be held on 12th February.”
The registration for the clubs are standing on dubious grounds according to current status but Ganguly assured that “each of the franchisees will be registered as a part of some club under the IFA and once registered the names of the club will also be changed in accordance to the demands of the respective franchisees.” Ganguly stated that importance will be given to turf development “according to FIFA guidelines” and the franchises will also take care of modifications to stadiums and dressing rooms. “Developing and promoting the quality of football is of the greatest importance and all of us will take the necessary steps to make this tournament a success,” he said.
The maiden edition of PLS will have six franchises -- Kolkata, Howrah, Barasat, Durgapur, Silguri and Haldia -- with one icon player, two overseas players, one overseas player of Asian origin and the rest of the squad comprising of six U-21 Indian players, six 'catchment' (local) players and nine to 14 top Indian players.
This ambitious project touted as a national trendsetter for football will coerce the teams to compete for a total prize money of 1.5 crore rupees through 30 group matches and four semifinals (home and away fixtures) before the grand finale on May 6.
The Team names:
Kolkata: Kolkata Camelians, Barasat: Barasat Euro Musketeers, Durgapur: Durgapur Vox Champions, Howrah: Howrah Manchester, Siliguri: Bengal Tuskers.