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VFI to launch premier league this year

J.R. Shridharan

IVL will give an opportunity to talented spikers to earn a bit of extra money


Six teams will be formed from a pool of 60 players, says Arikapudi Ramana Rao

Players will get appearance money, based on their expertise, he says


VIJAYAWADA: The news that the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) is all set to launch its premier league tournament – the Indian Volley League (IVL) – this year on the lines of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's Indian Premier League (IPL) will be music to the ears of talented spikers, as they not only can earn a bit of extra money but play quality volleyball for a month against the cream of Indian talent.

Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Dronacharya and Arjuna awardee Arikapudi Ramana Rao said that six teams will be formed from the pool of 60 players representing India in senior, junior and youth segments. “Each team will get 10 players and each team can either go in for two foreign or local club players. This will give an edge to the competition and provide variety,” he said.

Mr. Rao said that the league will be played for five days and the remaining two days would be allotted for the teams to travel from one centre to the other. “We have identified Kerala, Hyderabad, Yanam and Bangalore as the centres. But owing to some reasons, Kerala and Yanam have pulled out. We (VFI) will be restructuring the tournament fixtures soon,” he disclosed.

No auction

However, no auction will be held on the lines of the IPL, because one franchisee might walk away with the best of the players, making the league grossly a one-sided affair.

Mr. Rao said players based on their expertise will also get appearance money. “Senior players who played in the Indian senior team will get the best price, while the juniors and youth spikers will get a bit less.”

The former head coach of Indian senior team said each team will be provided with two coaches from the VFI's panel. “Before the start of the league the teams will undergo a month's training. This will give an opportunity to gel well as a team and know each other's style of play,” he reasoned.

Prize money

Mr. Rao said that prize money of Rs. 10 lakh will be awarded to the winner and a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 to the best player in each league match.

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