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Shillong Premier League 2024 to start in September

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Shillong, June 21:The Shillong Sports Association (SSA) announced on Friday that this year’s Shillong Premier League (SPL) will be held in September.
While revealing the revised calendar for this year’s season, SSA general secretary Dipshon Lyngdoh Nongbri said that the 2024 edition of the SPL will be a two-leg league, with the club that garners the most points being crowned champion.
With no relegation last season, Nongbri informed that ten clubs will be competing in the SPL this year. According to him, the relegation system will be reinstated from this season.
Meanwhile, the SSA general secretary informed that they will kick off the 2024 season with the U-20 Fourth Division, starting on June 27. A total of 29 affiliated football clubs will be taking part in the U-20 Fourth Division. Nongbri stated that they have decided to allow teams to sign players above the age of 20, with only three able to feature in the starting 11.
He explained that the main idea behind this decision is to provide opportunities for players over 20 who have not been able to find a new club at a higher level to continue playing.The SSA general secretary also announced that they are looking to offer a vacant spot in the First Division to any of the affiliated clubs via auction. According to him, the slot became vacant after Rising FC did not continue participating after playing for just one season.
“We want to give an opportunity to the affiliated clubs in the Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions to bid for this vacant spot. No bid under Rs 2 lakh will be entertained,” Nongbri said. He further stated that the affiliated clubs can approach the SSA for details on the auction, and they will need to act quickly as the last date to receive bids is June 24 by 3 PM.The SSA general secretary said that the auction winner will be exempt from relegation for one season and will be allowed to sign five players in a “special transfer window.” Nongbri explained that they are using the term ‘special’ because the inter-club transfer window of the SSA has already closed.
He also informed that the Third Division league will start in the third week of July, and the Second Division league will begin in the first week of August.The U-12, U-14, U-16 tournaments and the Women’s League will take place only in December-January during the school holidays. (The Women’s League has so far largely featured girls of school-going age.)
The SSA plans to hold all its tournaments this year at the SSA Stadium at First Ground and the Meghalaya Football Association’s Third Ground.Nongbri also revealed that the association is planning to enhance the prize money for the different leagues, including the SPL. The SPL champions currently take home Rs 3 lakh, while the runners-up win a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh.
The Fourth Division 2023 and Women’s League 2023 champions only received Rs 30,000 each.The SSA general secretary informed that the association also allocates 30% of the gate collection to the participating teams.
From each match, the winner gets 20% of the ticket income and the loser 10% (or 15% each in case of a draw). Bigger prize purses will likely mean a bigger budget – the SSA spent around Rs 55 to 60 lakh last year across its tournaments.

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