Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) along with Nirmal Lifestyle together launched one of its kind football league in Mumbai, known as University Football League (UFL). This initiative has been taken to help those students who are good in football at the university level, and want to choose the beautiful game, soccer, as their career. The league competition is going to be held in September-October.
Rupesh Kumar, Head of Mumbai
Operations for BBFS said, “There are a number of students, who are good at both in academics as well as football, but when they get into universities, they do not get any chance to display their skills. There is no such platform in India
like Europe. We are providing a platform (UFL) for these kids and provide a path of football as a career.” Many European countries have such leagues, from which these students can be picked up by professional football clubs. With the introduction of UFL, these Indian students can also think on the same lines.
This football competition could be a perfect platform for these young students to get noticed by football agents of I-League teams, if they come and watch the game. I-League is the top league for domestic Indian footballers. The organisers could have even come up with a league, which would provide strong competition to the I-League. “UFL is the middle link for these students, which was missing in Indian Football, as the I- League is already present in the football scenario,” said Rupesh.
There is good money up for grabs in the competition – total worth around Rs 20 lakhs. The winner of the competition is going to receive Rs 10 lakhs, whereas the runner up would get Rs 5 lakhs. Rupesh Kumar, also said, “The competition is going be a league kind of a format and the knock out stages are going to take place later.” As of now, the exact dates for the competition have not been decided. With the exams season to start around April, just two months away, they are in no mood to disturb their exam preparations. These matches are most probably going to take place on the football pitch in the respective universities.
This is the first edition of the UFL, where the entry would be limited with teams from only five cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Kochi. “To begin with there are five cities and in the later part, we will add more. In the second edition, we plan to add three more cities.” They are expected to announce the three cities only after the conclusion of the first edition of the UFL.
These five cities have been selected as they are the educational hubs of the country and many students from all over India come to these cities for higher education.” These cities are known for their high quality education infrastructure, like Delhi, which possesses two of the best universities in India – Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia. They have primarily chosen these cities after an extensive research program.