The Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) has split into two factions over the selection of a promoter for its volleyball league.
The VFI had launched the Indian Volleyball League (IVL) in 2011 and the league was primarily restricted to the southern parts of the country with teams coming from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.
After a break, the VFI wanted to resume the league in a bigger way by making it an eight-franchise men's event and also featuring women's and beach volleyball competitions.
In a release dated February 22, VFI secretary Ramavatar Singh Jakhar had stated that after going through various proposals submitted by different firms a core committee appointed by the VFI executive committee had “accepted the offer from Baseline Ventures India Private Ltd” to conduct the league for 10 years. The release claimed that most of the office-bearers and members of affiliated units were present at the meeting.
However, at a function organised here on Wednesday, VFI president Chaudhury Avadesh Kumar sided with another firm, Sportzlive, to announce the commencement of a league, iv League, featuring similar competitions.
“We believe that the sport, which is played in over 200 countries, presents an opportunity to inspire younger generations,” Avadesh Kumar was quoted in a release, which claimed VFI's support and featured a logo similar to that of the national federation.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Jakhar said any use of name, marks, logo and reference of VFI by Sportzlive was "purely unauthorised" and the presence of Avadhesh Kumar "should not be considered official sanctioning of this league."
Interestingly, both the leagues have promised to popularise the sport and ensure good earnings for the players.
The iv League is set to start in July, while the IVL, backed by the secretary, is slated to begin towards the end of the year.
After boxing, basketball and triathlon, volleyball looks to be heading towards a bigger crisis due to the turf war within the federation. As a consequence, the VFI's special general body meeting in Chennai on March 11 is expected to be an eventful affair.
"If the president had any issue regarding the selection of the firm, then he should have taken it up with the executive committee in Chennai,” said Jakhar.