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|August 14, 2001||
Federation Cup football set to kick-offIn what will be the first major tournament after the inter-state transfers, 20 top teams of the country will be vying for honours in the revived Rs 10.1 million prize-money Federation Cup football tournament, to be held at the Nehru stadium, in Madras, from August 15 to 30.
The line-up for the competition, last held in 1996 at Kannur as the Federation Cup and in Calcutta as the Kalyani Black Label Cup in 1998, includes Kingfisher East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, Sporting Club (Goa), Tollygunj Agragami, Hindustan Aeronautics (Bangalore), Vasco (Goa), JCT (Phagwara), BSF, Dempo (Goa), F C K, Zee Churchill (Goa), State Bank of Travancore, Punjab Police, Air India, Mahindra United (Bombay), Indian Bank and ICF-Madras.
Tata Football Academy, which was originally in the line-up, pulled out of the competition, following which the AIFF accommodated local senior division league team ICF.
The winner will carry home a purse of Rs one million, the runner-up Rs 600,000, the quarter-finals losers Rs 50,000, the pre-quarter finals losers Rs 20,000 and the first round losers Rs 10,000.
The competition will see a number of prominent players in the Indian football scenario, barring Baichung Bhutia. However, the participation of foreign players in the Zee Churchill Brothers team, Sporting Club, Goa, and East Bengal, has not yet been confirmed, with the AIFF yet to get clearance from the players' respective national associations, AIFF secretary Alberto Colaco, told newsmen in Madras.
"We are likely to get the clearance by tomorrow," he said.
A four-member committee, headed by the legendary P K Banerjee, Sukhwinder Singh, Syed Nayeemuddin and Gabriel Joseph will watch the tournament and select a list of probables for the Indian team, which will participate in the coming SAF Games in Islamabad and later in the Afro-Asian Games in New Delhi, Colaco informed.
The Cup, which had a chequered profile, was inaugurated in 1977 and was held without much grounding till 1996, with the AIFF switching its format. Then, with the idea of injecting professionalism, the competition found rebirth as the Kalyani Black Label Cup from 1997 to 1998. It was held at single venue -- Calcutta, with East Bengal, Salgaocar and Mohun Bagan winning it in that order and Dempo emerging runner-up once.
Some of the best named participating in the tournament are I M Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Bruno Coutinho, Jules Alberto, Raman Vijayan, Basudev Mondal and Khaleel Jameel.
There wil be 18 referees -- Rizwan-ul Haq (Delhi), Krishna Avatar (Delhi), S M Balu (Karnataka), Bharath Mani (Karnataka), Shaji Kurien (Kerala), P K Bose (MP, V K Singh (Bihar), M K Roy (Assam), Dinesh Nair (Gujarat), Gokuldas Nagvenkar (Goa), Walter Pereira (WIFA), Manuel Pereira (WIFA), Jayanta Chkraborthy (IFA), Udayan Haldar (IFA), S Suresh (TN), K Sankar (TN), P Basker (TN) and T Pradeepkumar (TN). They will be guided by Asian Football Confederation referees instructor Manian.
S R Dev of Madhya Pradesh is the match commissioner and M G Suvarna (WIFA) is the referee in charge.
The Federation Cup, which was held in Tamil Nadu in 1981 (Madras), 1984 (Tiruchirapalli) and 1989 (Coimbatore), has been alotted to Madras again only with the hope giving a fillip to the sport in the state.
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