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CFL 2017: East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to share air time with other teams this season

2.16K   //    11 Aug 2017, 14:00 IST

East Bengal Mohun Bagan
More teams other than East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will get air time this season

The IFA has announced that they will try to telecast about 36 out of the total 45 matches that will be played out in CFL this year. So one will be able to see more talents on show on the television screens for the upcoming season. Last year about 30 matches were shown live.

Addressing the media at the Calcutta Sports Journalist club, while releasing the fixtures of the impending CFL, Utpal Ganguli, IFA secretary mentioned, “We will be trying to arrange the live telecast of about 36 matches that will be played this year. So outside the derby matches, and matches involving Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting, we will try to telecast more live matches involving the smaller teams."

He further added that the CFL has tied up with a local popular Television channel Kolkata TV to telecast those matches. A representative of the media channel further iterated, “It has been arranged that these matches will be shown twice – one, of course, live as it happens and again as a repeat telecast on our other TV channel”. The live action will benefit from slow-motion reviews and the telecast will engage at least six if not eight cameras.      

It may be noted that overall there will be one less team competing this season as Army XI Club has withdrawn their participation from this year’s competition.

CFL is about to go underway tomorrow (12 August, 2017), with East Bengal, the defending champions, being the first team to kick-start the season with their match against NBP Rainbow. Perennial rivals, Mohun Bagan (MB) will make its first season appearance two days later against Southern Samity. Mohammedan Sporting (MSC), meanwhile, take to the field, in between, on Sunday against Patha Chakra.

While the East Bengal matches will start at 3 PM, the MB and MSC matches which will undergo at 6 PM will be under flood light. While MB will play on in their own yard, MSC will play their matches at Barasat as they don't have a proper ground of their own.

So there is much speculation regarding the Kolkata derby - its date and venue. However, nothing has been writ in stone yet but the date of the derby is tentatively thought to be September 10.

Regarding the venue, it is a toss-up between Kalyani and Siliguri. Most likely Siliguri will get the nod but Ganguli is in no mood to go into that at the moment.

Like the derby, the exactitude of the three big matches has not been decided yet. Even the full fixture list was not released at the conference. Only three rounds were made public.

Ganguli justified the decision by saying that the IFA generally accounts for the cancelled matches after the end of the ensuing lot. And though the parent fixture is ready, it makes sense to release it in batches to factor in the prevailing weather conditions, so that the cancelled matches can be provided with a feasible date.

But he did promise that the league will end before the festival season which commences from mid-September. 

This year every match will have a man-of-the-match who will win rupees five thousand and there will be award for the man of the tournament as well.

Winners will get INR 25 lakhs while the runners-up will have to satisfied with INR 20 lakhs.

East Bengal have won the CFL six times in a row in the past six seasons which is a record and their new coach. Though it looks like EB may have done better than MB with the team formation at least on paper, the result of their two practice matches is hardly encouraging.

Besides they start their campaign against a team with whom they had played out a tame draw in the pre-season warm-up. On the other hand, MB had a decent run in their practice stints, and their three foreign players seem to combine better than their EB counterparts. Needless to say, they want to upset the EB apple cart.

It is a considerate move on the part of IFA to focus more on the smaller teams as well.It might very well replicate the benefits of The Mizoram Premier League, a similar league which has so far energized the local football scene with its greater demographic engagement.

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Sudipto Mullick is a freelance writer and contributes on various subjects for The Statesman, Delhi Press ( magazines Woman's Era, Alive and their websites) and few other news portals.
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