Clash of dates with varsities event threatens to disrupt KWL

KFA looking for solutions as six-team event begins in Thrissur on Saturday.

The captains of the six teams in the Kerala Women's League football with the trophy.   -  STAN RAYAN

Making a comeback after seven years and in a glamorous avatar too, the Kerala Women's League football begins at the Corporation Stadium in Thrissur on Saturday. 

The six-team event, which runs till January 24 and has players from all over the country, will be streamed live and the winner will get a berth in the Indian Women's League. But a clash of dates with the South Zone inter-university football championship and its all-India event threatens to disrupt the Kerala league.

The varsities South Zone will be held in Bengaluru's Christ University from December 21 to 24, while Annamalai University will host the all-India championship from December 27 to 31.

Fourteen Calicut University players and two from Mahatma Gandhi University figure in the Gokulam Kerala FC, the Indian Women's League champion was in action in the recent AFC club championship. They have KWL matches on December 22 and 29. The two dates clash with the South Zone and National varsities events.

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“That's the biggest challenge we are facing. Most of the clubs will be affected, even us. Teams have raised a concern too but we have to complete the league before January 25 only then will the AIFF (national federation) consider the team for the Indian Women's League,” P. Anilkumar, the general secretary of the Kerala Football Association, told Sportstar on the sidelines of the KWL's launch event here on Friday.

“We have requested the federation to increase the number of players (in each team) from 30 to 35 so that they can go for the varsity matches and come back. But if serious concerns are raised, we will try to have two matches a day and finish the league within the given time.”

Despite the varsity dates issue, Gokulam Kerala appears to be the title favourite. But since many of the teams are new, there could be many surprises.

“We will try to ensure that all the men's Kerala Premier League teams also have a women's team so that there are more sides in the KWL in future,” said Anilkumar.

Kadathanad Raja FA, Kerala United FC, Luca SC, Travancore Royals FC and Don Bosco FA are the other teams in the KWL.

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