Meet the MITFL
Football is more than just a sport. It’s a religion. It’s a way of life that transcends all boundaries, both geographical and man-made. It comes as a small surprise that it is the most popular sport on the planet, being played by more than 250 million players in over 200 countries. Football is a sport that involves teamwork, skill, and (above all) passion. It is this passion of Shubh Patodi, a student of Manipal Institute of Technology, which led to the creation of the Manipal Institute of Technology Football League.
How It Started
This league was conceived two years ago when Shubh was in his first year at MIT. He, like many other passionate students, went for the MIT team trials. He got through but found the entire regime to be a tad too mechanical and rigorous. He believed that the system wasn’t exactly ideal as it wasn’t very inclusive. Shubh wanted a system that would be free of all this and that would unite all the lovers of this glorious game, proving a holistic environment to that effect. It is this dream that led to the formation of MIT’s very own semi-professional football league.
Shubh noticed that the Venugopal Temple ground became over-crowded during weekends, depriving potential top players of a practice spot. Since the atmosphere wasn’t conducive to the sport, he discussed with his roommate the idea of playing in a league. As the discussion gathered steam, it took the eventual founder of the MITFL into high gear. He conducted a survey to find like-minded students who would help him turn this idea into reality. An overwhelmingly positive response from the students egged him on.
Stimulated by the moving reaction, he approached the MIT Sports Club and pitched his idea to them. From there he went to the Sports Council where he explained his plan to Dr. Kemparaj, the Director of Physical Education. Dr. Kemparaj was highly impressed with Shubh’s vision and pledged his complete support to the project. From there, a meeting with the Director and the Joint Director was set up and the entire concept was showcased to them. After getting the green signal from Dr. G.K. Prabhu, Director MIT, the process for the creation of the MITFL officially started.
The structure of the league is inspired by the English Premier League. There will be six teams in total and each would play an opponent twice, home and away, making a total of 30 games. For every win, three points will be awarded, for a draw, one point, and a loss results in no points being awarded. The league will only feature students from MIT and not other colleges of Manipal University as it is not feasible at the moment.
All interested candidates will have to attend trials which will be a five phase routine with an optional sixth phase, reserved exclusively for goalkeepers. The players will be judged on speed, dribbling, tackling, passing and shooting. Based on the candidate’s performance, points will be allocated and a rating coefficient will be generated. Accordingly, the selected players will be divided into several pots and grouped into categories. Following this stage, the players will be allocated to six different teams through a fair ballet system. The selection criteria will follow the pattern of UEFA Champions League, making the system unbiased and consistent.
The six teams the players will be sorted into are: the Alpha Knights, the Delta Warriors, the Gamma Gladiators, the Omega Vikings, the Psi Vipers and the Zeta Bolts. Each letter of the Greek alphabet from the team names represents a core engineering constant and the logo of the league is an atom that connects all these constants, symbolizing the common passion that binds these teams – Football.
The Dream is Free; the Hustle Sold Separately
There are a few infrastructure related issues that need to be addressed before the league gets underway. The first impediment is the MIT football grounds themselves. Most students have classes in the morning and the scorching sun in the afternoon makes playing a game of football tiring if not dangerous. Hence, the evening hours is the most convenient time to play. However, to play in the evening it is imperative to have floodlights. Talks with the authorities regarding this issue are in progress. The schedule will be such so that the players would not have to abandon their academic commitments. This platform will enable students to have fun, follow their passion, and get a perfect taste of professional soccer.
Speaking of incentives, the league is emerging as a platform for start-ups and corporates to promote themselves. As a result, quality sponsorship is expected along with prizes such as a rolling trophy for the winning team, medals for the players, certificates, and possible prize money too.
The dream is free but the hustle is sold separately. And in this case the dream is the MITFL, and the hustle is the tireless work done by Shubh and everyone who has helped him achieve this feat. Shubh expresses a desire to leave a legacy with the college and says that he would love to return as an alumnus and see a motivated legion of students playing in the league and making memories that will last a lifetime. Shubh Patodi has managed to galvanize the footballing community of MIT into a family and should be lauded for his valiant efforts. We expect this league to get bigger with each passing year, perhaps even extending to the other colleges of the MU family. We hope that this league gives Manipal its next Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, and Neuer and for it to serve as a beacon for the students of this institution.