AIFF headquarters in Delhi
AIFF headquarters in DelhiFile photo

AIFF announces schedule for Santosh Trophy, Hero I-league, and Women's Senior Championship

New Delhi, August 27, 2021

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Friday said that, owing to the pandemic situation, the competition calendar of 2020-21 has been brought forward to 2021-22.

Accordingly, the National Championship for the Santosh Trophy zonal rounds will be held from November 21, while the final round is slated to be held from January 5, 2022, onwards.

The Women’s Senior Championship will be held from November while Hero I-League will commence in December.

Announcing the rescheduling of the calendar, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das informed the Executive Committee that “the number of matches has increased and the I- League will get over by the first week of April 2022."

"The Hero I-League Qualifiers will kick-off under the bubble in Bengaluru from October first week. We have had 29 teams from 19 states contesting for the 10 spots in the HIL qualifiers.”

Meanwhile, the inaugural AIFF Club Futsal Championship will be held from November 1-13 in Shillong.

Earlier, AIFF President Praful Patel chaired the physical-cum-virtual AIFF Executive Committee Meeting . While some members attended the meeting physically at Football House, others joined the meeting via video conferencing. FSDL General Manager Chirag Tanna attended the meeting as an invitee.

The President appreciated the AIFF administration for “having done some exceptional work during these difficult times.”

“We have had our leagues which were run simultaneously and successfully in a bubble. Unfortunately, we could not afford multiple venues as we had to follow safety protocols. But, we managed the competitions successfully,” he stated.

Referring to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, Patel said, “Though we always like to broadbase such tournaments across the country, unfortunately due to the pandemic situation, as we were in the danger of losing the hosting rights for the tournament, we planned to host it within the bubble in and around the Mumbai region.

"That allows us access to an adequate number of training pitches, and the three stadiums in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune," he said.

The committee also congratulated Gokulam Kerala for being the first Indian women’s club to qualify for the AFC Championship pilot project to be held in Jordan.

The qualification to the Hero IWL will be through the state leagues, and State Associations are supposed to complete their state leagues by January 15, 2022.

Director National Teams Abhishek Yadav apprised the committee about the calendar of the national teams. “The Senior women’s team have also kicked off their preparatory camp for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 in Jamshedpur with support from the Government of Jharkhand."

He updated the Committee about the ongoing National Centre of Excellence, Kolkata, the first phase of which is to be completed by the end of this year, followed by a soft launch.

The committee, unanimously ratified the implementation of minimum criteria for all State Associations to nominate teams for the subsequent 2nd division/HIL qualifiers, and also the HIWL.

Based on the recommendation of the AIFF Medical Committee, It has asked former junior Indian International footballer Anwar Ali to produce an affidavit claiming full responsibility, along with details of the medical precautions to be taken by him, and his perspective club to make him eligible to play competitive football.

The Committee also lauded the efforts of the AIFF Secretariat to implement the training compensation, which will financially reward the clubs/academies nurturing talent between the age of 12-21. There will also be a share of the admin fee to the state and districts.

Before the start of the meeting, the Committee condoled the demise of former Olympians, footballers, and administrators, and observed a minute’s silence bowing their heads as a mark of respect for the departed souls.

“Indian football will miss them as they were all stalwarts who inspired several generations and played such a huge role in scripting a golden age for Indian football. May I put on record our gratitude, sympathy, and condolences to all their families. Our prayers are always with them, and we pray for the departed souls to rest in peace,” Patel said.


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