The IFA Shield is the most prestigious football competition organized by the Indian Football Association since 1893. It is the fourth oldest club cup competition in the world after the English and Scottish FA cup’s and the Durand cup. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the viewership of football in India and the IFA Shield, which was made into a U-19 Tournament two years ago, is confident of gaining huge popularity.
To spread the popularity of LG IFA Shield U-19 Football Tournament beyond the borders of Bengal, some of the group matches of the tournament will be played in Kerala and Goa. As part of IFA’s commitment of development of youth football, IFA is committed to make the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 into the most popular U-19 tournament in India.
Mr Baichung Bhutia unveiled the shield, which, even though the tournament has been modified into a U-19 tournament, has not changed since its inception. The country’s biggest U-19 sporting spectacle will see ten teams competing with each other over four weeks beginning 16th Feb.
With 23 matches being played across Bengal, Goa, and Kerala, this tournament celebrates the vibrant spirit of football showcasing some of the best U-19 talent available in the country today. The historical shield will also be taken on a Trophy Tour across various malls and social clubs in Kolkata in bid to bring the game closer to football fans and create more excitement around the tournament.
The participant includes Kingfisher East Bengal Club, Mohun Bagan AC, Md. Sporting Club, United Sports Club and U-19 team of All India Football Federation.
Besides these 5 teams, discussions are on with a team from Kerala, a team from Goa, Crystal Palace FC and one other overseas team.
LG India has also planned various online and on-ground promotional activities to engage with consumers and football aficionados and create a buzz around the tournament. The promotions will happen at all the major brand stores and MBOs. With buy-and-win offers, if you are lucky you could even win a chance to meet the celebrity.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr Niladri Datta, Head Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics India said, “LG has always believed in the spirit of sports and it is a great honour for LG to be associated with the Indian Football Association. We are happy to encourage young sporting talent by providing a platform for them to showcase their skills and spirit. Kolkata is the city of football lovers, where the game is followed ardently and we are thrilled to be here amidst all the positivity. LG salutes the spirit of the game that resonates strength, competition and dynamism. This association with IFA also serves as a platform for LG to connect with consumers who are football fans and passionate about the game.”
Speaking at the Press Conference, Mr UK Ganguli, Hony. Secretary of IFA (WB) said, “We are delighted to have LG Electronics as our partner for LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 and are extremely grateful for their support for Bengal football in general, and LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 in particular. The development of youth football is essential for improving the performance of Bengal football as well as Indian football and the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016 will provide an opportunity for the most talented U-19 players of the country to showcase their performance. LG, apart from supporting the tournament as the Title Sponsor, has planned various promotional activities to create interest for the tournament and we hope that the football loving people of Bengal will extend their support for the tournament by watching the matches in large numbers and cheering for their favourite teams in person.’’
Mr Baichung Bhutia, who attended the Press Conference as Special Invitee, said, “Kolkata and football are synonymous with each other and it is a great honour to be here for the LG IFA Shield U-19 Tournament 2015-2016. It gives me immense pleasure in promoting a game that is close to my heart and embedded into the socio-cultural fabric of the city.”
Ms Mimi Chakraborty, the popular film actress and youth icon said, “I have grown up watching football in Kolkata and I am very happy to be a part of this legendary tournament. I hope to see Kolkatans come together to celebrate the spirit of the game and have an experience of a lifetime.”