The Rs 1.5 crore prize money Premier League Soccer (PLS), that has already grossed over Rs.100 crore, is tentatively slated to begin March 24 with the final scheduled for May 6, the organisers said Monday while announcing Argentine 2006 World Cup skipper Juan Pablo Sorin as the icon player of the Haldia franchisee.
The franchisee, bought by the Grey Mind Communications, will be coached by former England star John Barnes.
Indian Football Association secretary Utpal Ganguly told media persons that soccer greats like Robert Pires, Fabio Cannavaro and Hernan Crespo, besides the iconic coaches would arrive in the city ahead of pre-season practice which begins March 3.
IFA, governing body of the game in West Bengal, is organising the 35-match event with Celebrity Management Group as commercial partners.
The winners will be richer by Rs.50 crore, Ganguly said after a meeting with the six franchisees, five of whom also announced the names of their teams.
Kolkata, owned by the Camelia Group, would be christened Kolkata Camelians, while Barasat would be named Barasat Euro Musketeers by its purchaser, Uro Infra Realty India Limited.
The other teams are: Durgapur Vox Champions owned by Tulip Infonet, Howrah Manchester bought by Synsys Infotech and Bengal Tuskers (team Siliguri) owned by Aajay Consultants. The Haldia franchisee is yet to decide on the team name.
Ganguly said the auction for local players, who have a base price of Rs.2 lakh and Rs.3 lakh, will be held Feb 12.
The tournament would have a mix of international, and Indian referees. Some of the referees will be from the state.
The franchisees have been asked to prepare the facilities at their home venues as per FIFA guidelines while the IFA would ready the turfs by early next month.
Ganguly denied any conflict with the game’s national apex body All India Football Federation but said the latter had some queries which were replied to.
“They are anxious to ensure we follow the rules. There may be apprehensions. But everything will be sorted out”.
He said second division I-League players were being contracted for the league by the franchisees.
The six teams would be tagged on to the registered clubs of the IFA for affiliation for the first year.
A spokesman for Barasat Euro Musketeers said after having roped in Crespo, they now want to get the services of Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia.
Ganguly said the ticket prices for the matches will be fixed keeping in mind all sections of spectators.