IMG-R to present franchise-based football format

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) IMG-Reliance, the commercial partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), will be unveiling the blueprint of the ambitious franchise-based football tournament here Thursday.

AIFF and IMG-R, which had formed a committee to plan the eight-team tournament to be played from Jan 14-March 13, will make presentation to the AIFF executive committee.

AIFF president Praful Patel, secretary general Kushal Das and I-League chief executive Sunando Dhar are also on the tournament committee.

"IMG-R will be presenting their plans for the tournament and the modalities will be worked out by the executive committee," Das said.

Das said that the committee may also discuss the issue of I-League clubs refusing to release their players for the tournament.

A top official of IMG-R told IANS that they have already signed 36 players and talks are on with a few others as well.

"We have been discussing the format with the tournament committee and tomorrow we will present the final blueprint," the official said.

Some of the world's top footballers, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Raul Gonzalez, could be seen in action during the tournament.

Each of the eight teams in the new league is expected to have a squad of 25 players, including half-a-dozen foreign recruits.

The teams will be up for grabs through a bidding process in August.

The tournament is expected to glamourise the sport in the country, like what the Indian Premier League (IPL) did to cricket.

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