PLS to kick off on March 24, final to be held on May 6

Kolkata: The much-anticipated Premier League Soccer (PLS) will kick off in the state on March 24 with the final scheduled to be held on May 6, paving the way for a collision with the Indian Premier League.

The likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Hernan Crespo along with some of the world`s renowned coaches would arrive in the city early next month as the pre-season training would begin on March 3.

Spanning 35 matches, including five knockouts, the IPL- style football tournament featuring international stars, would have a total prize purse of INR 1.5 crore, with INR 50 lakh for the winners, the Indian Football Association, organizers of the tournament, on Monday.

Meanwhile, Grey Mind Communications bought the Haldia franchise with Argentine 2006 World Cup captain Juan Pablo Sorin as their icon player, while John Barnes will be their coach.

On the sidelines of a meeting with the six franchises of the first edition of the tournament, IFA secretary Utpal Ganguli said the next phase of the auction for the Indian players would be held on February 12 with their base prices in the range of INR 2-3 lakh.

"We have discussed the turf and facilities for the tournament and the venues would be ready early next month as the pre-season training would begin," Ganguli told reporters.

"We have already received the inspection reports for the venues and the facilities available. The work would begin soon to make the facilities in line with the FIFA guidelines," he said.