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Total Sports Asia plays Futsal with Ten Sports, Tara Bangla Total Sports Asia plays Futsal with Ten Sports, Tara Bangla

MUMBAI: Localisation is the name of the game as sports broadcasters seek avenues outside cricket to build up an audience. Earlier this year ESPN Star Sports (ESS) organised the first edition of the Premier Hockey League (PHL).

Now sports marketing firm Total Sports Asia (TSA) is organising the first of its kind TVS Futsal Championships in Bengal. The football event runs from 19 April to 28 May 2005. It has roped in Ten Sports and Tara Bangla to cover the event.

 

What is unique is that unlike traditional football in Futsal each team has just five members. Each half lasts for 20 minutes. That makes the game speedier and reduces periods of boredom. This format has been approved by footballs governing body Fifa.

Speaking this evening to Indiantelevision.com Total Sports Entertainment India MD Navneet Sharma says, "The aim is to build further on the passion that football generates and allow an outside a chance to play with the big boys as it were. The event is divided into three legs. The first leg will involve the participation of a total of 16 clubs from each district, with a total of 304 teams across 19 districts. Winners from each district will be further broke down in to zones, following which winners of the respective zones will play each other to identify the best district team.

The district champion will get a wild card to the final round. The second leg is called Para Football and takes place in Kolkatta. Kolkata will be segregated into three zones i.e. North, South and Central. A total of 45 teams will participate across the three zones. Winners fro the respective zones will play each other to identify the best para team, who will get a wild card to the final round.

The two winners will then participate in the Super division of the Futsal Championships. They will be joined by the top six teams of the Indian Football Association (IFA) including Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. The event is being conducted under the aegis of the IFA and has prize money of Rs. 300,000.

 

 

While Tara Bangla will cover the district level games Ten Sports will cover the semi finals and final. According to Sharma this is the first time that two Indian broadcasters are covering a local football event. TVS is the title sponsor. Khadims and Haywards 5000 are the co-sponsors. The company will conduct roadshows across Bengal. TSA will also take out hoardings and the print partner for the event is The Statesman. Sharma adds that this will be a yearly event. Next year the company is looking at roping in teams from Goa, Mumbai, Kerala as well as teams from abroad.

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