Diving into the MDFA – Mumbai’s Semi-Pro Football League

Mumbai, the financial capital of India and the city of dreams. Many people come here to fulfil their dreams or just for a better employment opportunity. Well, many have an aspiration to play football and Mumbai has a multi-division league for the same. Mumbai District Football Association or MDFA is the main body that undertakes footballing leagues in the city of Mumbai. 

MDFA is affiliated with the Western India Football Association (WIFA), a state association which comes under AIFF. MDFA has approximately 17 leagues with over 300 League teams and 250 youth teams ranging from Under-8 to Under-16.

MDFA, a non-profit organization, was established in 1983 as the official district body to overlook the development and organisation of Football in the city of Mumbai and its suburbs. The organization had a small beginning with a humble 57 football clubs affiliated to it. Today the league boasts over 500 teams and 10000 players registered under them. 

There has been an increase in the number of people having the football fever and has become one of the largest football playing districts in India. 

Mumbai has always been a centre of football for the western coast of India from the British Raj days with competitions like the Harwood Football League and the prestigious Rovers Cup hosting teams from all over the country. A legacy passed on the MDFA and the association still organises competition which now over a hundred years old. 

Here’s how the leagues are structured in terms of division of Men, Women and Youth level football. 

Men:

  • Elite Division
  • Super Division
  • First Division
  • Second Division
  • Third Division

Women:

  • Women’s Division 1 
  • Girls U-17 
  • Girls U-14

Youth:

  • U-18 Boys 
  • U-16 Boys Division I 
  • U-16 Boys Division II 
  • U-14 Boys Division I 
  • U-14 Boys Division II 
  • U-12 Boys 
  • U-10 Boys 
  • U-8 Boys

The top tier of MDFA which is the Elite division hosts 28 teams split into 2 groups – Public sector and Private sector. The main problem faced is there not enough footballing action for the people of Mumbai with the Elite division also wrapped up with-in 2 months. It’s not just the lack of games or opportunities that has hindered the growth of football in India as the MDFA has it’s own set of operational issue that cease to exist till date. 

There are more efforts being put to overcome these issues and to promote the growth of football for the city of Mumbai, it is only time that will tell how effectively the steps are taken. 

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