NSL to begin from next year : ANFA signed 8 years long agreement with NSEM

The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and Nepal Sports and Event Management Pvt. Ltd. (NSEM) have inked a contract for the Nepal Super League that would last for eight years (NSL).

In accordance with the agreement made on Tuesday at the Solti Hotel, NSEM will give ANFA 172 million. According to the agreement, ANFA will get NRs.15 lakhs for the first season. Suresh Shah, a spokesperson for ANFA, and Shreyans Karki, the managing director of NSEM, both signed the joint press statement.

The competition shall take place between Ashoj & Kartik of next year as per the agreement. This time, the competition will last for two full months.

On May of last year, when the entire nation was on lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the inaugural NSL was played in an empty stadium. Excited by the inaugural edition's tremendous success, the organizers requested permission from ANFA to stage the Martyr’s Memorial 'A' Division League from Chaitra 25 to Jestha 15 in a letter sent on Poush 21. NSEM then submitted a follow-up letter on Chaitra 2 asking for time from Chaitra 25 to Jestha 10 after ANFA sought another letter claiming that the first one was misplaced.

The date seven days later on Chaitra 9 was offered by ANFA as asked by the organizers during the hearing on the letter of Chaitra 2. However, the organizers and participating franchise teams unilaterally announced the competition's delay on Chaitra 10th, the day after they received the time they had requested.

Eight teams from the top division began a protest against the NSL in the interim, which hampered the third league proposal in a nation where there were already two divisions. When the organizers began making voluntary preparations without consulting the teams who were competing by recruiting players for ANFA and professional football, the top division clubs got suspicious. Additionally, the organizers' skepticism in the deal with ANFA changed to rage when they realized that ANFA would take the effort to have the NSL squad recognized by FIFA and the AFC.

Machindra, the eight-time champion of the Shahid Smarak A division League, Manang Masryangdi, Three Star, Sankata, New Road Team (NRT), Satdobato Youth, Jawalakhel Youth, and Friends Club were serious about the fact that some franchise teams have listed their players as marquee players and listed them in the NSL auction without their consent. Four clubs initially withdrew from the movement begun by eight clubs, but Three Star, MMC, Sankata, and NRT persisted throughout the movement. On Falgun 20, ANFA gave the NSL the go-ahead to halt the auction at the clubs' request. However, the NSL disregarded it and hired players through an auction for each of the ten participating franchise clubs.

The projected second NSL season will have ten teams, as the organizers are getting ready. Seven teams competed against one another in the previous edition. The champions of the first edition are the Kathmandu Razors, while the runners-up are the Dhangadhi FC, Lalitpur City Football Club, Butwal Lumbini, Pokhara Thunders, and FC Chitwan. This year's new teams are Jhapa FC, Mechi-Ilam, and Birganj United.

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