The Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) is set to kick off its third season on Wednesday with the first match in Mizoram. This youth football extravaganza has become a breeding ground for emerging talent, offering a crucial platform for players to shine and catch the eyes of top-tier clubs. 

RFDL 2024 Overview:

  • 55+ teams participating across eight zones in India.
  • Zones: Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, South, North, East, Meghalaya – Assam, and Mizoram.
  • Includes clubs from ISL, I-League, I-League 2nd Division, and State Football Associations.

  League Format:

  • Divided into three phases: Regional Qualifiers, National Group Stage, and National Championship.
  • Around 300+ matches planned.

National Championship:

  • 20 sides from pan India progress to the National Group Stage across 40 games with the winners from each group booking their spot for National Championship. 
  • The National Championship involves two semi-finals, a third-place playoff, and the summit clash.

“The RFDL helps us keep a close watch on prospects, especially from the reserve teams of all the clubs, and it eases their transition to the first-team. It gives us an opportunity to scout talent from a widespread pool of players from clubs across the country. Young talents get a chance to be nurtured by coaches through the competition, and it not only helps us reinforce our squads at the senior level but also enables the creation of a sustainable footballing ecosystem in India,” said Carles Cuadrat, Head Coach, East Bengal FC.

“RFDL gives a fantastic opportunity to players to seize more playing time and display their skills in competitive matches. Young talents have shined in the competition lately and the enhancements of opportunities play a part in the overall development and competitiveness of Indian football. By showcasing their potential in a tournament like this, young aspiring footballers across the country are inspired and encouraged to follow their dreams with similar passion and dedication,” said India international and FC Goa defender Sandesh Jhingan.

While more than 45 players from the Development League have stepped into play ISL, standout names from the current season of ISL are Mohammed Aimen, Mohammed Azhar, Vibin Mohanan, Nitesh Darjee, Nikhil Barla & Nikhil Prabhu

 Players born on or after January 1, 2003 will be eligible to participate in the league. Each team has been granted permission to include up to five players born on or after January 1, 2001, in their matchday squads. No more than three such players will be permitted to be part of the playing XI at any time. Participants cannot be younger than 14 years and 364 days at the time of their registration for the tournament.