First ever Indian Professional football league from Nov 24

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New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Dempo will take on Salgoacar in the opener of the Rs 10 million prize money first Indian (Professional) football league, which will kick off at Fatodra, Goa from November 24.

Top ten clubs of the country will battle it out for the title in this round-robin league and the champions of the tournament which will conclude on March 30 next year will receive Rs 50-lakh. In all there will be ninty matches to be played on home and away basis.

The clubs figuring in the inaugural edition of the league are: Dempo, Salgoacar, Churchill Brothers, Sporting clube-de-Goa, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mahindra United, Viva Kerala, JCT and Air India.

Unveiling the logo and mascot of the I league here this afternoon, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Priya Ranjan Dasmunishi said this league is not only first in India but in the subcontinent and will go a long way in boosting the game.

He said though the venues have been decided for the matches but ''we have kept some neutral venues ready and in case we find that some centres are not up to the standard we will shift the matches to the neutral centres.'' Mr Dasmunshi further added that the structure of the league has been formulated and finalised after a long and detailed discussion with the World body (FIFA) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

He said for the I league, clubs have been allowed to register four foreign players instead of three at present.

However, a club can field only three foreign players in a match.

The Runners up will receive Rs 28 lakhs, while the second runner up will take home Rs 20 lakh.

Winner of round-robin match will get Rs 35,000 while Man of the match will receive Rs 5000.

The Fair Play award winner side will be richer by Rs one lakh, while the highest goal scorer in the league will get Rs 50,000.

The matches will be played at Goa, Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab and Kerala.

The league is being sponsored by ONGC.

UNI

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