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Exclusive: MDFA Elite Division set for revamp, to feature two groups of 13 teams

Written by: Sabin Castelino

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The move has come as a consequence of the state failing to provide any representative teams in the 2nd Division I-League last season.

The Mumbai District Football Association's Harwood League, also known as the Mumbai Football League- Elite Division is set to get a massive revamp, Khel Now understands. The competition has historic status as it has been played for nearly a century since the British era and sees fierce competition among the participating teams, both Corporate and Public Sector Units alike.

Mumbai has always been a hotbed for footballing activity, but unfortunately last season no professional team qualified for either the I-league or its 2nd Division. This was mainly a result of the 2nd Division introducing a rule that the participating teams should finish in the top three of their domestic leagues.

For over five years, Kenkre and PIFA Football Club would represent the western state, but since the new rules were introduced last year they were deemed ineligible as the top three teams in the Elite Division were all Public Sector teams who anyways do not play professionally at the national level. This resulted in talented players from Mumbai being left out of the competition.

The Change in Format

Khel Now sources have confirmed that the MDFA was perplexed at this situation and was keen to make the changes necessary to help the teams qualify.

Taking note of the new rules, the body has thus decided to expand its top division and make provisions for the corporate teams to qualify for the 2nd Division with as less resistance as possible.

The new structure will move to 26 teams divided into two groups; one made up of Public Sector teams and the other of Corporate teams and Clubs who wish to qualify for the 2nd Division I-League.


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The top three teams from both the groups will advance to a final single match round, just like in the 2nd Division I-League and the winner of the league will be crowned based on the final league standings of the qualified teams.

There is a catch though! The MDFA has decided to show the standings in Group B which will be made up of Corporate teams for presenting the case for clubs who want to participate at the National level.

There is also a proposal to name the newly-structured league as the Mumbai Pro-League to get better marketing and media attention.

The Groups

Elite A

Elite B

Air India

Bombay Gymkhana

Bank Of India

Community Football Club- India

Central Bank of India

Companeros

Central Railway

GM Sports

Century Rayon

Kenkre

Dena Bank

Millat FC

HDFC

Mumbai Muslims

Karnataka SA

Mumbai Strikers

Maharashtra Police

Premier Indian Football Academy-PIFA

Mumbai customs

Rhema Sporting

ONGC

Salcette FC

Union bank of India

Sea View FSI

Western Railway

Selebrity

 

Published: Sat Aug 04, 2018 02:00 PM IST

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