AIFF targets 2018 launch for futsal league

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation has set out its road map for the launch of a futsal league in India, for which the tentative schedule for launch is in the second half 2018.

After the conclusion last Friday of the AFC Futsal Development Programme, which kicked off here on August 8, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das offered SportzPower a time line of activity for the launch of a professional futsal league in India in tandem with its commercial partners Football Sports Development Ltd. 

Das said the process for creating a coach/referee education system had already been inititated and the AIFF would be ready to roll with it in another month or so.

Once ready, workshops would be conducted in four pilot states, the end aim being to be able to offer Level 1 and Level 2 coach education courses so that a proper framework for the development and growth of futsal was in place, Das noted.

Queried as to the time frame for the launch of an AIFF endorsed professional futsal league in the country, Das said while a March-April window was being explored, a more realistic expectation would be for the debut of the event in the second half 2018.

Even as the AIFF sets forth its plans, the promoters of Premier Futsal, India's first professional league of the abridged version of football, assert it is all systems go for the second season, which will kick off on 15th September and travel to Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, before flying out to Dubai for its finale.

It is worth noting that the AIFF has refused to recognise Premier Futsal but that has not dissuaded its organisers who have secured the backing of the Futsal Association of India (FAI) as well as accreditation from the international governing body, Asociación Mundial de Futsal (AMF).

For the record, Premier Futsal is bankrolled by Xavier Britto, chairman, Kerry Indev Logistics. Additionally, the promoters have roped in Kiran Kumar, of Lalitha Jewellery, as a key investor in Premier Futsal Management Pvt Ltd, the controlling entity of the league.

Premier Futsal boasts Luis Figo, former 2-time World Player of the Year and Real Madrid legend as its president; Alessandro Rosa Viera (a.k.a Falcao), better known as the “Pele of Futsal” as vice-president.

Premier Futsal has Sony Pictures Sports Networks India (SPSN) as its broadcast partner for the subscontinent.

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AIFF assesses futsal roadmap