The 115th IFA Shield is set to be a 10 team affair with the tournament to be played from March 11 to 30 across Kolkata. The tournament, which is being held in the I-league break, is set to see six sides from Kolkata, three I-League sides from the west of the country and current Chinese C-League champions Shandong Luneng in action.
The final is set to be played on March 30 with the champions getting a record Rs 1 Million (10 lakhs) and the runners-up Rs 700,000 (7 lakhs); while the semifinals would take place on March 27 with the losing semifinalists taking home Rs 200,000 (2 lakhs). It is a big increase from last year.
The sides in action will be Kolkata I-League sides East Bengal Club, Mohun Bagan AC and Chirag United SC besides second division teams Mohammedan Sporting Club, Southern Samity and Techno Aryan Club. The participating I-League sides are Churchill Brothers SC, Salgaocar SC and Pune FC plus Shandong Luneng from China.
Other teams from across India and even foreign sides had shown interest to play in the tournament this year, but the organising Indian Football Association (West Bengal) could not accomodate them due to time contraints.
The groups haven't been made, but the IFA hopes to create an interesting mix to draw crowds to the matches with Saltlake Stadium, Barasat Stadium and the Maidan grounds of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal the proposed venues.