The New Kabaddi Federation of India (NKFI) on Wednesday launched the Indo International Premier Kabaddi League beginning on January 26.
With a winner’s cheque of 1.25 crore, the league will see over 1000 players, both domestic and International players, competing as part of eight franchises.
There is a pool of 823 Indian players, that includes 271 state level players, 137 national and International level, 84 International registered players with NKF. The player draft will take place on January 5.
The league will feature eight teams in the inaugural edition, namely Bengaluru Rhinos, Chennai Cheetahs, Delhi Dumars, Telangana Bulls, Patna Panthers, Haryana Hurricanes, Mumbai Marathas and Kolkata Tigers.
Each franchise will have 2 to 3 international players. The format is one of double round robin, the league stage will consist of 62 matches over a period of one and a half months, the top 4 teams will qualify for the playoffs.
Each team will feature players from across the globe namely New Zealand, Poland, Argentina,Tanzania, Australia, Norway, United Kingdom, Canada and USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Mauritius, Kenya, Iraq, Denmark.
Interestingly, the federation also decided to distribute 20 percent of the annual profits from the league to the participating players.
All 62 games will be streamed on DSPORT, a sports TV channel by Discovery Communications India.
“We are overwhelmed to launch the Indo International Premier Kabaddi League in India. This will be the first league featuring the best of Indian and International players from across the world,” General Secretary, NKF, MV Prasad Babu said.
“The purpose of the league is to give a fair chance to all players, to encourage competition which will benefit federations and players. We are providing 20 per cent of the profit to players and 50 percent to the state federation for the development of the game.”
The selection trial will start from October 6 across the country for two months.
The league is a big step for The New Kabaddi Federation (NKFI), which was formed in May last year. The body is yet to be recognised by the International Kabaddi Federation, which is under the aegis of Olympic Council of Asia.
At loggers head with Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), NKFI had alleged rampant malpractices in the selection process of the Indian teams for Asian Games.
After two petitioners — C Honnappa Gowda and S Rajarathinam — approached the Delhi High Court, it ordered the AKFI to conduct a selection process on September 15 under the supervision of Justice (retired) S P Garg as an observer.
However, there was no clarity of the order and it turned out to be just an exercise to follow a court order.