Giggs, Ronaldinho and Crespo join Scholes and Salgado for Premier Futsal

Ryan Giggs, Ronaldinho and Hernan Crespo will join Paul Scholes and Michel Salgado in the inaugural Premier Futsal tournament in India this month.

Brazilian futsal legend Falcao will be the sixth marquee player at the tournament, which begins in Chennai on July 15, after former Barcelona and Portugal star Deco withdrew through injury.

The six franchises at Premier Futsal, which is not registered with the Indian federation or FIFA, will each feature one of the marquee stars. The franchises -- Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa, Bengaluru and Kochi -- will be divided into two groups as they battle it out to reach the finals in Goa on July 23 and 24.

Premier Futsal co-founder Nithyashree Subban said: "Amidst all the false allegations and attempts to tarnish the image of Premier Futsal, we are proud to kick-start our inaugural edition as scheduled on July 15 here in Chennai.

"It was a strategic decision to host the league in just two cities, Chennai and Goa, and with six franchises. We have managed to secure signatures of players who are the legends of the game and will be seen playing in India in a few days.

"As Premier Futsal Management, we are committed to grow Futsal here in India and we will expand the league to other cities in the future editions."

Former Manchester United midfielder Scholes signed up for the tournament last month, when he said: "Futsal is a fascinating format that has played a pivotal role in developing the skills of some of the greatest football players.

"I have seen Futsal grow not just back home, but also across the world and I have played in a few of those tournaments. Premier Futsal will be a great way to introduce the sport to India and I'm looking forward to meeting the fans across India who I know are some of the most passionate in the world."

Ex-Real Madrid defender Salgado added: "Futsal is an extremely underrated sport. It has been the breeding ground for some of the biggest names in football the world over and I'm glad Premier Futsal in India is creating a platform that can showcase the sport and give it its due."

Brazil and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho, who is currently without a club, posted a message on social media to say he was en route to India.

Premier Futsal has confirmed that the opening group fixtures will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai from July 15 to 17, with the second set of group games to take place at Peddem Sports Complex in Mapusa, Goa, from July 19 to 21.

The semifinals and final will also take place in Mapusa on July 23 and 24.