The Indian Women’s League (IWL) 2020 is all set to kick-off on 24 January at the Bangalore Football Stadium, Bengaluru despite uncertainties regarding the ground playing conditions. The league in its fourth season will comprise of twelve teams divided into two groups of six. The fourth edition will introduce a ‘rolling trophy’ in a bid to increase the competitiveness of the tournament and allowing the trophy to be passed on to successive winners of each edition.
This seasob, the IWL will see a rise in the cash prizes as well. The champions will be awarded a sum of INR 10 Lakhs and the runners-up will be richer by INR 5 Lakhs. The player of the tournament will earn INR 1.25 Lakhs while the best goal-keeper will earn INR 1 Lakh. The emerging player of the tournament will be rewarded a sum of INR 75,000. The Women of the Matches in each case will be rewarded a sum of INR 5000.
Mr. Sunando Dhar, I-League CEO, when asked about the not-so-good pitch conditions of the Bangalore Football Stadium, Bengaluru said, "There is always room for improvement in every case. We have had National Football Championship, Bengaluru Division and the Youth League games here in the recent months. The Bengaluru FC side has always been training on the pitch, so we hope that the pitch despite being in not so good conditions will be playable."
Dhar also stressed on the need for a longer and professional women’s league which should be the case over time as the league matures. He said, "It is still early days. We are looking to make the league a longer affair, stretching to six months in the upcoming seasons so that clubs can host their own games and play at their home venues to mobilise their fans and create a local market for their teams."
The fourth edition begins with a doubleheader on 24 January. Krypsha will face Kickstart at 12 PM while Kolhapur City will cross-swords with Sethu FC later in the evening.
The teams have been divided into two groups of six as follows :
Group A: Kickstart FC (Karnataka), FC Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Krypsha FC (Manipur), BBK DAV FC (Punjab), Sethu FC (Tamil Nadu) and Baroda FA (Gujarat)
Group B: Kenkre FC (Maharashtra), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Odisha Police FC (Odisha), Bangalore United FC (Karnataka), Sreebhumi FC (West Bengal), Bidesh XI FC (Goa).
Each team will play five games in the group stage and the top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals. The final will be played on 14 February at 2 PM IST. All games will be streamed on the official Facebook page of the All India Football Federation (Indian Football).