COVID pandemic forced numerous state associations to cancel or postpone indefinitely their respective state leagues. Even though the situation has almost reverted to normalcy, many associations still couldn’t conduct their state leagues, including the Calcutta Football League, due to logistical reasons and lack of sponsors. Notwithstanding all these odds, Ramco Kerala Premier League will begin on the 6th of March which will feature 12 teams and 33 matches. The official release of fixtures and unveiling of the trophy was held in a press meet organized by Kerala Football Association (KFA) at Grand Hyatt Kochi. Mr. K M A Mather (AIFF Vice President), Mr. Tom Jose (President, KFA), Mr. Balaji K Moorthy (Executive Director, Ramco Cements), and Mr. Anil Kumar (Secretary, KFA) attended the function and briefed the media.
This year’s KPL will see 12 teams fighting for the title, which includes the likes of Kerala Blasters and Gokulam Kerala. The winner will receive the coveted KPL trophy and 3 lakhs INR, and the runners-up will receive 1 lakh INR. The teams are divided into two groups of 6 teams each and each group will play all their matches at a single venue. Group A consists of Basco Othukkungal FC, Gokulam Kerala FC, Kerala Police, Luca SC, FC Kerala, and SAT Tirur. Group B consists of Mar Athanasius Football Academy, Golden Threads FC, KBFC, KSEB, Kerala United, and Kovalam FC. Group A and B matches will be held at Thrissur and Ernakulam respectively. The matches will be held on Saturdays and Sundays, and the first round of the league will end by 24th of April.
The inaugural match will be held at Ernakulam Maharajas ground where Kovalam FC will lock horns against Kerala United FC. Kerala United FC, owned by United World Group which also owns Sheffield United, has players like Arjun Jayaraj in their roaster. This KPL will be an opportunity for Arjun to redeem himself and to return to the limelight of I-League or ISL. Luca SC is the team to watch out for in this KPL season. They have secured the services of Bala Dahir Alhassan (Nigeria) and Koffi Konan Kevin (Ivory Coast) for this season. Athul Unnikrishnan of Luca SC is one of the local players who can potentially be the player of this season. He had played for Mohun Bagan youth team & had undergone a training stint in Spain.
Matches that are held at Thrissur will start at 7 PM and the kick-off time of matches at Ernakulam will be 4 PM.
‘Sports Cast India’ will broadcast all the matches live through their Facebook page and YouTube channel. Malayalam commentary of the game will be available in the YouTube live stream.
KFA officials expressed their gratitude to Ramco Cements, the firm which has always supported Kerala Football by sponsoring KPL and Kerala Santhosh Trophy squads over the years.