Dialog Champions League 2016 to kick off this month

Friday, 17 June 2016 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

fghFrom left: Dialog Axiata General Manager – Brand and Media Harsha Samaranayakke, FFSL Chairman Media Ranjith Rodrigo, FFSL President Anura De Silva, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Marketing Officer Amali Nanayakkara, FFSL Secretary General Balendra Anthony and FFSL Chairman Competitions Committee Rtd. Senior DIG KPP Pathirana – Pic by Indraratne Balasuriya




Sri Lanka’s most prolific sponsor of sports, Dialog Axiata, will sponsor the Champions League conducted by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) for a record 11th time in 2016.

The Dialog Champions League 2016, Sri Lanka’s premier football league, will kick-off at the Racecourse Grounds in Colombo on Friday 24 June under lights. 

Eighteen teams will be taking part this year, down from 22 last season, with the sides divided in to two groups. The top four teams from each group will then qualify for the ‘Super 8’ stage, which will be played in a league format to determine the winner. The bottom two teams from each group, meanwhile, will be relegated into Division 1.

This year’s edition of the Dialog Champions League will feature 100 matches officiated by over 60 referees and 50 officials. Colombo FC are the reigning champions after they triumphed over Sri Lanka Army SC last year.

“We are pleased to announce today the advent of the 2016 Champions League, the foremost platform for top footballers and clubs in Sri Lanka,” said FFSL President Anura De Silva speaking at the launch event for the tournament last evening. 

“FIFA and AFC require us to apply ‘Club Licensing’ regulations to maintain our position in accredited competitions. Therefore, it is imperative we upgrade our league standards to align with AFC regulations.”

De Silva added that the support received from Dialog has been invaluable in lifting the standard of players representing Sri Lanka internationally, and that he hopes it will continue in their long term goals for the sport in the country.

“We are working on how we can improve the national team. There is a lot of youth development work where we are working with schools. The game is becoming more professional and challenging, so football can no longer be just a recreational activity.

“We cannot survive if we don’t raise our standards. We need support in this endeavour to develop the sport, and implement our long term strategy to make football the most popular sport in the country by 2022.”

This goal ties in with Dialog’s vision to develop local talent to compete on the international stage, according to Dialog Axiata Group Chief Marketing Officer Amali Nanayakkara.

“Dialog is privileged to further its partnership with the FFSL over a decade, constant to our unremitting philosophy to propel local sports and talent to the international stage. Football has grown its fan base in Sri Lanka and at Dialog we are proud to empower that growth and development of football,” she said.