Kerala Blasters’ parent company ventures into volleyball

Kerala Blasters’ company, in a partnership with Serbian volleyball club Radnicki Belgrade, has formed Radnicki Blasters.

Serbia's Radnicki women's volleyball team with the new Radnicki Blasters jerseys.   -  Special Arrangement

After making Kerala Blasters the club with the biggest fan base in the Indian Super League, its parent company Blasters Sports Ventures Private Limited (BSVPL) has now entered volleyball with an aim to boost the sport in the state.

BSVPL has signed a deal with Radnicki Belgrade and the club, which plays in the Serbian First Division, will be now will renamed Radnicki Blasters.

Serbia is ranked No. 11 in the FIVB's world men's rankings (India is at No. 78) and through the new partnership, Radnicki will also offer technical expertise, training infrastructure, support and international exposure to budding volleyball talent from Kerala.

Will it also see some of Kerala's top players, who are among India's best, playing for Radnicki in the Serbian League?

“That will be the aim moving forward but it's too early now,” Nikhil Bhardwaj, Kerala Blasters' co-owner, told Sportstar.

“Currently the focus is purely on exchange of knowledge and expertise with their coaches and a chance to send talent from Kerala to train with them. In time, hopefully our players, on merit, will be able to represent us there also.”

“Over the past six years, we’ve learnt of the passion Kerala has towards football and sports. Our time here has helped us realise the state’s fervour towards volleyball, a sport that is equally prominent among men and women. This motivated us to introduce Radnicki Blasters, to identify talents from the state, provide unique opportunities and build a platform to prove their excellence.”

Serbia won the FIVB World League in 2016 and its women took the silver in Rio Olympics the same year.

“Radnicki Belgrade is a club with rich tradition in one of the most popular sports in Serbia, volleyball. We are honoured and thrilled to partner with Blasters Sports Ventures in this wonderful project. We look forward to a long-term relationship,” said Nikola Biverovic, Radnicki's sports director.

“In future, our club will be named Radnicki Blasters and our first team and academy players will wear the Radnicki Blasters jersey with great pride and an even bigger responsibility.”