Hockey India announced the Hockey India League which will showcase the best national and international hockey players showcase their talent. The first edition of the mega-league will be played in January-February 2013.
The inaugural season of the Hockey India League will consist of six franchise-based teams in six cities across India. Each team will have 24 players including 10 foreign and 14 Indians. There will be a live telecast of all 33 league matches on a leading international sports channel.
According to Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra, the league is already in the process of locking in players who will sign a contract with Hockey India.
"We have 96 top Indian players who would obviously be a part of the draft. Apart from that, we would have 60 foreign players (10 for each of six cities). The Pakistan players will be allowed subject to clearance from the government," Batra said.
Hockey India currently has 12 cities on its radar with potential to be a home base for the six teams.
Batra went onto explain, "There will be six Indian marquee players in each team (for example Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh) along with six foreign marquee players. For each team, it would be mandatory to field two U-19 players for at least 20 minutes.”
Hockey India League will be a multi-city, franchise-based league and players acquired in a draft. The Hockey India League is an FIH (International Hockey Federation) sanctioned tournament. The basic league format is expected to be a home and away schedule with games played in four quarters.
FIH President Leandro Negre said of the proposed league, “there is such a massive thirst for hockey in India so this league is a welcome development. The structure also helps the growth of the sport by integrating junior players into each line-up giving them valuable experience against top domestic and international players.”
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