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Meghalaya State football league is different from other state football leagues. None of the state football leagues in India is run in such a professional manner. Probably, it is the only state football league that follows UEFA Champions League in format and Indian Premier League (IPL) in offering financial assistance. Meghalaya State League (MSL) is the only state league in India where the state government’s help is huge. In 2023, the MSL started on 12th May. The League will continue for almost two months and will be staged in four venues.
The state football league includes 21 district champions and three teams from Shilong Premier Football League and another team Jayantia Hills. The 25 teams are divided into four groups and they play each other in a home-and-away system before qualifying for the knock-out stage. MSL follows the format of the UEFA Champions League.
The Journey of MSL
President of Meghalaya Football Association Larsing Ming commented on the issue,
“MSL was conceptualized three years ago. The basic object was to spread football across the state and help those districts finally to conduct their district league championships. The state government started donating Rs 1 lakh to those districts which were struggling to host the league due to the financial crisis.”
Even though MSL started three years ago, according to Ming,
“Due to Covid-19 followed by lockdown, MSL could not be staged in 2020 and 21. We revived it last year and this year it is being staged properly.”
Financial assistance and IPL model
Meghalaya Football Association is following the IPL model considering the financial aid to the participating teams in MSL. The participating teams are given Rs 1 lakh in their group league matches. Then in the semifinal stage, they are given Rs 1 lakh more and the prize money for the champion team is Rs 7 lakh and the runner-up team gets Rs 5 lakh. Apart from this, the teams get shares of ticket sales while organizing their home matches.
The teams are also offered a share of the total sponsorship amount raised for the League. Due to a shortage of time, the MSL failed to gather private sponsorship to a big extent, but from next year, the participating 25 teams will have shares of the sponsorship pool following the IPL style. All the league matches will be televised on MSL YouTube channels. One match will be shown live and others will be televised delayed.