Santosh Trophy football from May 24

May 20th, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 20 (IANS) Defending champions Punjab will be among the 31 teams competing in the 63rd National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy to be held in Tamil Nadu at four venues from May 24 to June 14.
The tournament this year coincides with the Platinum jubilee of the Tamil Nadu Football Association.

The top four teams from last year’s championship, Punjab, Services (runners-up), Bengal and Karnataka (both semi-finalists), have been seeded directly into the quarter-final league commencing here June 2.

The remaining 27 teams have been divided into eight clusters for the preliminary league that will be played from May 24-29 at Coimbatore (clusters 1 and 2), Tiruchirapalli (clusters 3 and 4), Tiruvallur (5 and 6) and Chennai (clusters 7 and 8).

The eight cluster winners will then play the pre-quarter-finals at their respective venues May 31 to identify the four teams that will join the top four in the quarter-final league.

Matches from the quarter-final league onwards would be played at the JN Nehru Stadium in Chennai, according to convenor R. Sadacharam, secretary, Tamil Nadu Football Association, who briefed the media here Wednesday.

The quarter-final league will be played from June 2-7, followed by semi-finals June 10 and 11, and the final June 14.

Zee TV will be covering the matches live from the quarter-final league onwards, he added.

The Clusters for the preliminary league are:

Cluster 1: Kerala, Chattishgarh, Chandigarh and Nagaland.

Cluster 2: Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh.

Cluster 3: Jammu-Kashmir, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Pondicherry.

Cluster 4: Goa, Orissa and Jharkhand.

Cluster 5: Railways, Delhi and Assam.

Cluster 6: Manipur, Uttarkhand and Sikkim.

Cluster 7: Haryana, Gujarat and Bihar.

Cluster 8: Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Draw for Pre-quarter-finals (May 31): Winner of Cluster 1 vs Winner of Cluster 2 (Coimbatore, Match 1); Winner of Cluster 3 vs Winner of Cluster 4 (Tiruchirapalli, Match 2); Winner of Cluster 5 vs Winner of Cluster 6 (Chennai, Match 4).

Draw for the quarter-final league (June 2-7):

Group A: Punjab, Bengal, Winner of PQF Match 3 and Winner of PQF Match 4.

Group B: Services, Karnataka, Winner of PQF Match 1 and Winner of PQF Match 2.

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