The Bihar Football Association (BFA) was formed in 1968. Football was popular only in a few districts of the state initially but has since spread to all the 38 districts.
"Bihar has 38 districts and four Railway units," BFA general secretary Imtiaz Husain explained to Goal. "There are more than 600 clubs for men and for women, there are around 100 clubs from 28 districts which participate in the women's league."
The BFA, along with its district associations, feel that they have infrastructural challenges when it comes to organising tournaments.
"We have grounds in Patna, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Motihari, Begusarai, Munger and Jamalpur. We face some problems in rural areas where grounds are not up to date. Without government support, it is a bit difficult as we do not have any sponsors. The BFA is somehow running the show," Husain stated.
"As part of our future plans, we are planning to develop the grassroots which will involve inter-school matches in various districts," he continued.
"We have more than 200 AIFF (All India Football Federation) 'D' License coaches, around 15 'C' License coaches. This year we are planning to organise the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) 'C' License course in our state. But we have a lot of national referees."
State & District Leagues
The main league is the state football championship or also known as the Moin-ul-Haq Cup which is usually held between the months of November and December.
The district leagues begin from around the first week of June and run till around the end of October or early November. Thereafter, the winners participate in the state football championship or the "Moin-ul-Haq Cup".
"The clubs participate in the local league matches in the 38 districts and the winners participate in the state league," Husain clarified.
Raj Milk FC and BRC Danapur are two of the most renowned Patna-based clubs who play in the senior division also field teams in the age-group tournaments. Patna has three stadiums - the Patliputra Sports Complex, Moin-ul-Haq Stadium and Jagjeevan Stadium - where football leagues and tournaments are hosted.
In the senior division, five foreigners can be registered while three can be fielded. The district leagues are played in a knock-out format.
The youth leagues of the state are divided into two categories, namely Junior (U-15) and Sub-junior (U-19). They are held in four zones in the state. The association also sends the state teams to various age group national level tournaments and mainly utilise the youth leagues for player selections.
"Apart from the state football championship, we have open tournaments in16-to-18 district and all-India tournaments every year like the Bihar Cup or the Karpuri Thakur Cup," informed the BFA general secretary.
"The All India Chaturbhuj Cup has completed 26 years and the Bernard Shield is also another traditional all India tournament," he added.
Teams such as Mohun Bagan, JCT Phagwara Aryan Club Kolkata, Indian Air Force Delhi and SAIL Football Academy Bokaro have participated in the Chaturbhuj Cup that is jointly organised by the Sri Chaturbhuj Ram Memorial Society and Muzaffarpur Sporting Club, and conducted under the aegis of BFA.
Women's football structure
"In the women's section this year we are planning to organise club league matches. This year, we will kick off the Bihar women's soccer league and the winner will qualify for the Indian Women's League," Husain revealed.
The teams will be divided into two groups with matches played over two legs before two-legged quarter-finals and the semi-finals. The final, however, will have only a single leg.
There are also 'Sukanya' football clubs in Bihar, set up throughout rural areas of the state to help fight child marriage by NGO organisations. Girls join the clubs to desist being married off by parents.