In a bid to make the game more attractive at the national level, the Indian Football Association (IFA) Thursday launched Premier League Soccer (PLS) - which will have Portuguese midfielder Nuno Ricardo de Oliveira Ribeiro aka Maniche, winger Sergio Conceiçao and many other world class foreign players turning up alongside Indians beginning mid-February.
IFA along with the officials of promoters Celebrity Management Group (CMG) Thursday announced the names of some of the icon players and the foreign coaches who will be up for auction among the six franchises.
The auction for the seven-week tourney will be held Feb 10-12, the organisers said.
According to CMG, PLS will have six franchises, to be chosen for Kolkata, Howrah, Barasat, Durgapur, Haldia and Siliguri. Each franchise can have four foreign players.
“Sorin, Maniche, Jay Jay Okocha, Sergio Conceiçao, Robert Pires, Hidetoshi Nakata will be part of PLS Season-I as icon players. Among all these players, there are some players where the negotiations are the advanced stage. Altogether we want 10 icon players who will be up for auction. Then there will be Category A players and then Under 21 players and then there will be Indian players,” said Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of CMG.
All the players are well past their prime. Some have even retired from professional football.
“We have also roped in world class coaches like Tony Adams, John Barnes, Samson Siasia, Marco Etcheverry, Peter Reid, Teitur Thodarson. These coaches will also be up for auction among the franchises,” said Goswami.
The six franchises will be chosen through bidding and would have to pay a yearly fee for it. The franchises will also have to adhere to a ceiling regarding their spending through the year. The tournament will be spread over seven weeks where a mix of national, international and local players will play.
“All the teams will play five home matches and the same number of away matches in the first stage. Then there will be semi finals and then a grand final,” said Dharamdutt Pandey, CEO, CMG.
The base price of the icon players will be $400,000-600,000, the base price of coaches will be $200,000 and that of category A players $200,000. For young players or Under-21 footballers, the base price will be $100,000.