Dubai: The inaugural season of the Kerala Football League (KFL) kicked off at the Iranian Club’s football ground in Oud Metha on Thursday.

Organised by Springs Sports Academy under the patronage of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), the first edition of this competition has attracted a full field of 12 teams. With Dh40,000 on offer during the two weeks of the competition, the 12 teams — representing 11 districts and one province from Kerala — have been divided into four groups of three each. The final will be played on April 18.

As per the rules, each team is required to have at least seven Keralites in the playing XI. Preliminary round-robin matches will be of one-hour duration, while it will be a normal 90 minutes play from the knockout quarter-finals onwards.

“KFL is meant to be one of the premier football tournaments in Dubai to support local talent and contribute in building the reputation of the city. We are confident of bringing to the spotlight some amazing talent through this tournament,” Anil Kumar, Director, KFL, said.

“An event such as KFL plays an important role in supporting local talent. It also intensifies our goal of developing a strong sports culture here,” Jaleel Cot, Director of KFL, noted.

Biju Nair, Managing Director, Springs Sports Academy and Director of KFL, added: “Our job is to provide aspiring footballers the platform to demonstrate their skills. This championship will also add to the city’s credentials in building footballers and their skills at the grassroots level.”