Prime Volleyball League to be held in Kochi in 2022

Nearly 400 players up for grabs in league's auction in Kochi on Tuesday.

Ashwal Rai

FILE PHOTO: Ashwal Rai (left) in action at the Pro Volleyball League in 2019.   -  The Hindu

The country's long wait for a professional volleyball league is over. Nearly three years after conclusion of the Pro Volleyball League, which ran for only one season due to issues with the Volleyball Federation of India, the Prime Volleyball League is set to begin early next year in Kochi.

“It's a new avatar. It's a completely private thing with zero interference from anyone. That's the big learning that we had. All the team owners have a stake in the league, we didn't want any outside interference,” Tuhin Mishra, co-founder and MD, Baseline Ventures which is organising the event, told Sportstar on Monday.

The PVL's auction will be held in Kochi on Tuesday and nearly 400 players, including foreign stars, will be up for grabs.

Some of the country's biggest stars, including Ashwal Rai, C. Ajithlal, G.S. Akhin, Jerome Vinith, Deepesh Kumar Sinha, A. Karthik, Naveen Raja Jacob and Vinit Kumar, have been slotted in the platinum category, while the rest will come under the gold, silver and bronze categories. Big names like David Lee (USA) and Luis Antonio Arias Guzman (Venezuela), will also feature in the international player draft during the auction.

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“Each (12-member) team has a budget of Rs 75 lakh. They can pick two foreign players and that could cost them Rs 25 to 30 lakh and there will something like 45 to 47 lakhs for the Indian players,” explained Mishra.

There will seven teams this time, with two from Kerala - Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, Bengaluru Torpedoes and Kolkata Thunderbolts.

Mishra also made it clear that players have nothing to worry by playing in the PVL.

“Legally, the (national) federation cannot stop any player from playing. Verbally, they can say anything but legally they cannot take any action. Plus, the federation in its own affidavit to the Competition Commission of India has given in writing that they will not stop any player or coach from participating in any league in the country,” he said.

“And there are enough court judgements which protect the player.”

Head coaches of franchises: Ahmedabad Defenders (Sajjad Hussain & S. Dakshinamoorthy), Bengaluru Torpedoes (K.R. Lakshminarayana), Calicut Heroes (Kishore Kumar), Chennai Blitz (Chander Singh), Hyderabad Black Hawks (Ruben Wolochin), Kochi Blue Spikers (M.H. Kumara), Kolkata Thunderbolts (Sunny Joseph).
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