Mumbai: Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who has started football schools in his name (BBFS), today announced the launch of a university level tournament across five cities in association with real estate firm Nirmal.
The University Football League, to be held between October and December this year, will see 80 colleges in five cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Kochi -- vying for top honours and a share of the total prize fund of Rs 20 lakh, it was announced at a media conference today.
The winners and runners-up would get Rs 10 and 5 lakh respectively while the losing semi finalists would take home Rs 2.5 lakh each.
Bhutia said initially only these five cities will be in the recokoning.
"But the plan is to spread it across more cities, including one from the north east region. The matches will be played in college grounds and university campuses," said the `Sikkimese Sniper`.
"We will seek the blessings of the All India Football Federation. Its a good platform for the talent scouts of various I-League club to identify players for their under 19 programmes," he said.
According to Bhutia, the initial part of the league would be held within the five cities to identify two teams each to play in the Super League.
He identified lack of an adequate development system and sufficient infrastructure as some of the major hurdles facing football in the country, which is ranked a lowly 164th in the world.
Italian sports brand Diadora is UFL`s third partner.