The AIFF Elite Youth League 2022-23 will kick off on December 22, with the tournament set to be played across two phases. While the group stages will be played from December 22, 2022 to January 5, 2023, the final rounds, the venue for which will be announced later, will take place from January 20 to January 31, 2023.
There will be a total of 111 matches across 11 locations (Group Stages + Final Rounds) during the course of the tournament.
A total of 49 teams from 29 State/Union Territories have been divided into 10 groups, which will be played across 10 locations in the country in a single-leg round-robin format in the group stage. The 10 group winners and 6 best second-placed teams will qualify for the Final Rounds.
The Final Round will be played in a knock-out format, starting from the round of 16 stage.
AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabakharan said, “We are coming up with the Elite U-17 League involving different academies and clubs from more than 30 states, which will see participation from more than 50 teams. This would definitely help us find talent for our India U-17 team, which is already in preparation for participating in the final rounds of AFC U-17 Asian Cup in May 2023.
“As we see it, the players, especially the youth players, didn’t have the opportunity to play in any competition during the pandemic, which is why we have created this league, which would definitely inspire the youth,” he said. “We plan to have a robust youth and Elite League structure going forward. This will be announced when we come out with the roadmap for our long term vision that could set our youth and elite development structure.
“This is just the beginning, and I’m sure the participating teams and clubs will be inspired with this opportunity, and we will find exceptional talent that could become future stars for India going forward.”
The following are the groupings:
Group A, Bengaluru: Alchemy International FA (Karnataka), TBD (Kerala), Lakshadweep Football Academy (Lakshadweep), Churchill Brothers FC Goa (Goa), Mumbai Kenkre FC (Maharashtra).
Group B, Kolkata: ATK Mohun Bagan (West Bengal), Sanju Football Academy (Sikkim), FAO Academy (Odisha), Minerva Academy FC (Punjab), Football 4 Change Academy (Manipur).
Group C, Patna: Alpha Sports Academy (Bihar), Hyderabad FC (Telangana), Odisha FC (Odisha), Techtro Swades United FC (Himachal Pradesh), Young Heroes (UP).
Group D, Imphal: Classic Football Academy (Manipur), Gauhati Town Club (Assam), Shillong Lajong (Meghalya), East Bengal (West Bengal), Jamshedpur FC (Jharkhand).
Group E, Hyderabad: Sreenidi Deccan FC (Telangana), Mumbai City FC (Maharashtra), Gandhinagar FC (Gujrat), Silvassa United FC (Daman and Diu), Jeppiaar Institute of Technology FC (Puducherry).
Group F, Chohal: Punjab State FA U-17 (Punjab), Kumaon Heroes (Uttar Pradesh), Real Lona FC (Ladakh), Real Kashmir FC (Jammu & Kashmir), Himalayan FC Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh).
Group G, Bokaro: Sail Football Academy, Bokaro (Jharkhand), KR Football Leaders (Uttarakhand), Rajasthan United FC (Rajasthan), Madan Maharaj FC (Madhya Pradesh), Adani Sarguja Football Academy (Chhattisgarh).
Group H, Rudrapur: Corbet FC (Uttarakhand), Hero FC (Jammu & Kashmir), Ladakh Football Schools and Academy (Ladakh), Chandigarh Football Academy (Chandigarh), Sudeva Delhi FC (Delhi).
Group I, Bhilai: RKM Football Academy (Chhattisgarh), Premier Sporting Football Academy (Bihar), TBD (Kerala), Chennaiyin FC (Tamil Nadu), The Diamond Rock FA (Madhya Pradesh).
Group J, Goa: FC Goa (Goa), Bengaluru FC (Karnataka), ARA FC (Gujrat), Zinc Football Academy (Rajasthan).