|Zee Sports, AIFF ready with ONGC I-League|
Thursday, 22 Nov 2007
Ashish Khurana - Televisionpoint.com | New Delhi
The ONGC I-League was launched amid a lot of hopeful statements. Competition starts on Saturday in Goa with John Abraham doing his bit to help India's first step into professional football and defending champions Dempo taking on Salgaocar.
ONGC had earlier been the title sponsor of the past three editions of the National Football League. The logo and mascot of the new league was also unveiled on Wednesday.
"This is a historic moment for the AIFF. It is the beginning of a new journey undertaken to recapture the lost glory of football in India, a process that started with India winning the ONGC Nehru Cup." All India Football Federation president Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said adding that most matches would be played under floodlights to make for better TV viewing.
At stake is Rs 98 lakh prize money, and there is also Rs 50,000 for the highest goal scorer and Rs 5000 for the Man-of the-match awards. Winners of each round will get Rs 35,000. ONGC too has upped its contribution from Rs 6.5 crore last season to Rs 7 crore.
At least 45 matches will be shown live on Zee Sports, official marketing partners of the AIFF, with minimum of 15 matches on Ten Sports.
"What the EPL is today, it was not when it started, things will only improve over a period of time. Two clubs will be relegated and four promoted from the second division each season and after three years, we aim to have a top division of 16 teams so that we can involve the whole of India." Zee SPorts CEO Gary Lovejoy said.
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