This promises to open a new world for Kerala football, the birth of a new pro league in the State and also activate the sport in schools and colleges.
The Kerala Football Association has offered its commercial rights for 12 years to the Meerans Sports LLP and Scoreline Sports Pvt Ltd consortium which promises to change football forever in a State that is passionate about the sport but which lacks big money to implement the big plans.
With the new partnership, the consortium is confident that the Kerala football ecosystem will see a cumulative investment of close to Rs 350 crore over the 12-year period.
SAFF Championship: India faces Nepal in must-win match
“We want to make football a celebration. People in Kerala are passionate about football but there is a lot of room for improvement. We want to get people out to the ground, want young kids to come out to the ground and play. That’s our goal,” said Feroz Meeran, director, Meerans Sports and Group Meeran, at the KFA event to announce the new partnership.
NEW PRO LEAGUE
As per the agreement, which comes into effect immediately, the new company has been given three years to start a new professional league but Sudhir Menon, the CEO of Scorline Sports, said the first edition could start in early 2023. It is likely to be an eight-team affair.
“This is the first of its kind in the whole country, it will definitely be a case study for all other States, not just for football development but for all sports,” said Sudhir.
“There will be visible benefits on the ground for players, coaches, referees and aspiring sports professionals. We also have plans to start inter-school and inter-college tournaments.”
The agreement has been discussed and approved by all the 13 active district associations, said KFA President Tom Jose. The other district, Thiruvananthapuram, has been troubled by internal disputes and is now suspended by the KFA.
All the KFA’s existing tournaments, including the Kerala Premier League, will continue, assured the State association’s general secretary P. Anilkumar.
“And the new pro league will create an opportunity for nearly 200 professional players and about 100 coaches. The winner of the new league will play the second division I-league,” said Anilkumar.
“The company will take the commercial rights and will give a guaranteed amount to the KFA, a little over Rs 1 crore every year. This will allow the KFA to conduct the tournaments in a better manner. And 15 per cent of the new company’s profits will be given to the KFA every year.”
And K.M.I. Mather, the honorary president of the State association, made it clear that control of the sport will remain with the KFA.