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Sikkim Premier League to Kick off early next year in Sikkim

First Published: 30th November, 2022 15:39 IST

The 2 months-long league will feature 8 teams: one each from Soreng, Pakyong, Mangan and Gyalshing districts, and two teams each from Gangtok

Reported by Prakash Adhikari

In what comes as good news for football fans in particular and sports lovers in general, a franchise-based football league is set to begin in Sikkim from mid-January next year (2023) with the launch of the Sikkim Premier League (SPL). The league will continue for two months.

The league will be organized by the Football Development Pvt. Ltd., a company formed by a group of recently-retired national-level footballers.

Eight teams — one each from Soreng (Singling FC), Pakyong (Pakyong District FC), Mangan (Vajra North United FC) and Gyalshing (Brothers FC) districts, and two teams each from Gangtok (Akraman FC and Sikkim Dragons FC) and Namchi (Sinalchu FC and Red Panda FC) districts will participate in the SPL.

“It is a weekend league where all the matches will be played on Saturdays and Sundays. Some will also be night matches, said Nirmal Chettri,” a former India player and a member of the board of directors of Football Development said.

Nirmal Chettri also said that the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok and Bhaichung Bhutia Stadium in Namchi will be the two SPL venues.

The organizers have selected a group of 30 players. “A team can only have four players from outside the state and three foreigners. All under-19 players of the teams should be locals,” Nirmal added.

The SPL is being started in a bid to improve the overall standard of football in the state with the motto “Together for Sikkim football”. The government of Sikkim will be the principal sponsor of the first edition of the league and Teesta Urja Limited its co-sponsor.

“The winner will be awarded Rs 10 lakh. The runner-up Rs 5 lakh and the two semi-finalists will be given Rs 2.5 lakh each,” said Sanju Pradhan, another ex-India player and a board member. Sanju said apart from the SPL, plans are also afoot to start a similar league for women with six teams.

Speaking further about the company’s future plans, Sanju said one of them included creating an annual Sikkim Football Awards to recognise current footballers and honour the contributions of former players. “Our main aim is to hold a knockout tournament for the league champions of all the eight north-eastern teams,” he said.

Sikkim Chief Minister P. S. Tamang had earlier, unveiling the logo of SPL said that the new league was not just a tournament but a platform and a career-oriented avenue for youngsters to strive and prosper.

Also Read : Sikkim CM Tamang takes stock of road infrastructure projects in the state

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