The All India Football Federation named Mahindra United midfielder Shanmugam Venkatesh as the player of the year on Tuesday while announcing the ninth edition of the National Football League that will commence in Kolkata on January 12.
The 25-year-old medio played a crucial role scoring six goals as Mahindra finished third in the last edition of the NFL behind East Bengal and Dempo Sports Club.
All India Football Federation President Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi also told reporters in New Delhi that the fate of national coach Stephen Constantine would be decided before January 12 after studying his contract and other legal aspects.
"The matter has been left to me and the secretary to decide by the Executive Committee," he said.
The inaugural match of the premier football tournament in the country will be between defending champion East Bengal and former champions Mohun Bagan, said Dasmunsi who won another mandate today to be at the helm of AIFF affairs till 2008.
The proceeds of the first NFL match and the two matches between Dempo and Mohun Bagan will go to a fund to help the family of deceased Dempo striker Christiano Junior.
Dasmunsi said the new Executive Committee, which met after the Annual General Meeting, also decided to get strict with the conduct of the players in the NFL in the wake of unpleasant incidents in the Federation Cup.
"All the teams have to sign an agreement to ensure best behaviour and well conduct of the players so that AIFF is not compelled to shift the matches to neutral venues," he said.
On providing better facilities, the AIFF chief said it would be mandatory for clubs to have their own doctor and also for the organisers to have a fully equipped medical team at the venues. The Federation would also depute observers to oversee the arrangements, he said.
AIFF's newly formed EC includes former great Inder Singh representing the North Zone. This time it also has representatives from Goa and Bengal.
The EC also confirmed the appointment of Alberto Colaco as the General Secretary and the NFL Chairman.
Regarding the itinerary for the coming season, Dasmunsi said a newly formed three-member committee will finalise the calendar by January 4.