At a time when the Indian Super League or the I-League or even the now-defunct National Football League (NFL) wasn't making heads turn, the Calcutta Football League ruled the Indian football scene. This is exactly how the heavyweights from Kolkata -- Mohun Bagan and East Bengal -- earned their rich tradition and history over the years.
The revered CFL, the oldest football league competition of the country -- first played in 1898 -- enters into its 118th edition in 2016 and is set to mesmerise football fans in the City of Joy once again starting Wednesday.
Along with the coveted trophy to the Group A champions featuring 10 teams in the Calcutta Football League 2016, a prize money of Rs. 25 lakh will be awarded to the victorious club, announced the Indian Football Association (IFA) earlier this year. Apart from Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting remain the other big name.
East Bengal remain the undisputed champion in the Calcutta Football League as they remain numero uno with every passing season. Apart from defending the title last season, the Red and Golds also notched their sixth consecutive CFL crown last season. Their arch rivals, Mohun Bagan, are second in the list of CFL winners, with the last trophy having bagged by the Mariners in 2009.
A total of 10 teams will take part in the Calcutta Football League 2016 with each side playing against each other on only one occasion in the league.
Calcutta Football League 2016: All you need to know
List of teams: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, Army XI, Bhawanipore FC, Southern Samity, United Sports Club, Peerless, George Telegraph, Tollygunge Agragami.
Venues: Barasat Stadium, Kalyani Stadium, Howrah football stadium, Mohun Bagan Club Ground, Mohammedan Sporting Ground.
Kolkata derby date: The IFA have finally come up with a date and a venue for the highly-anticipated fixture. Catch the news here.
TV listing: ETV Bangla.
Time: While the majority of matches will start at 3:30 p.m. IST, Mohun Bagan will play their matches at 5:30 p.m. IST.
Fixtures (for first three rounds):