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The latest sport to join in on the league based format in India is volleyball with the Volleyball Federation of India announcing a glitzy new tournament that will see six teams fight it out on the volleyball court. An initiative by Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd, the Pro Volleyball League will take place from February 2-22 to enthrall the country with some fine and exciting volleyball action.
Coming back to Pro Volleyball League 2019 teams, six teams have been drafted in for the inaugural edition of Pro Volleyball League. These include Ahmedabad Defenders owned by Bonhomie Sports Event Mgmt. Ltd., the Calicut Heroes of Beacon Sports, the Chennai Spartans of Chennai Spartans Pvt Ltd., U Mumba Volley of U Sports, the Hyderabad Black Hawks of Agile Securities Pvt Ltd. and the Kochi Blue Spikers of Thomas Muthoot.
As per the rules of the league, each team will comprise of 12 players including two foreign players and one Indian icon player. With a focus on promoting the sport in the country and nurturing and handpicking young talent, two U-21 players are a necessity in each side. Akhin GS, Mohan Ukkrapandiyan, Prabhakaran, Gurinder Singh, Ranjit Singh, and Deepesh Sinha are listed as the icon players for the tournament.
The team composition will be decided in an auction in New Delhi on 14th December, with teams holding a purse of Rs 75 lakh to rope in a host of international stars mainly from USA, Turkey, and Serbia and with national stars at their sides. A team can spend a maximum of 20 lakhs on a foreign player, 15 to 18 lakhs for an icon player and 3 to 12 lakhs for other Indian players.
The marquee tournament will work on a group stage format, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. The tournament will be played in two cities with Kochi hosting host 9 group stage matches before the tournament shifts to Chennai for the remaining six league matches, semi-finals and final.
The league is a mighty breakthrough for the domestic association that had been reeling under international suspension due to political infighting and has been ratified only recently by the world body of the sport after meeting the six-month deadline given by the FIVB in May to the association to get matters right.
The league is not just a way to promote the sport in the country for the association though. It will give the national players a massive opportunity to play at the highest level after a hiatus that has seen the national side slump down the ladder ever since the ban. The men stand at a joint 131 and the women at joint 117, a huge downfall from their previous 39th and 55th position.
The 20-day event is a small step in that direction for the national federation. Meanwhile for the FIVB having India back is the bigger achievement. “Everything that had happened in the past has been (resolved) in the proper way,” Alexandre says. “The Congress and the board of administrators voted to have India back, and that for us is a pleasure.”
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