New Delhi, Apr 10 : NKFI & DSPORT on Wednesday announced dates for the first edition of the Indo International Premier Kabaddi League (IPKL), beginning from May 13 in Pune.
The IPKL will run from May 13 June 4 across three venues in Pune, Mysore and Bengaluru.
There will be a total of 44 matches in season one, which will feature eight teams and a total of 160 players, including 16 foreign signings. All players were selected post rigorous selection trials conducted throughout the country which were open to all.
Former Indian cricket great Virender Sehwag here at a glittering ceremony in the national capital unveiled the logo said, "It pained the whole nation including myself to see India lose their golden stranglehold in the Kabaddi competition at the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games.
Kabaddi is a pride of the country including many such indigenous sports which all of us at some point grew up playing. I wish the IPKL and all players all the very best in this new journey" said he.
Also present on the occasion was Ravi Kiran, Director, IPKL, who said, "This league is a revolutionary step towards increasing and strengthening the reach of this sport. For the first time ever players have been made stakeholders in the game through our revenue sharing formula." This ensures the primacy of player’s interests"
The opening phase of the IPKL will feature 20 matches and will be played at Pune’s Balewadi stadium between May 13th -21st, while 17 games of the second phase will take place in Mysore’s Chamundai Vihar stadium from May 24th to May 29th.
The final phase in Bengaluru beginning June 1st will have 7 games, with the grand finale scheduled at the Kanteerava stadium on June 4th.
A total of eight teams are in place namely the Bangalore Rhinos, the Chennai Challengers, Diler Delhi, Telegu Bulls, Pune Pride, Haryana Heroes, Mumbai Che Raje and Rajasthan Rajputs.
Each team will comprise of marquee players and will include five raiders, seven defenders and three all-rounders besides two foreign signings. One coach and physio will also be assigned to the teams.
Kabaddi has emerged as one of the most popular sport in India in terms of TV viewership as according to industry reports close to 621 million people watched the sport last year alone, up from 310 million back in 2015. It is therefore the second highest viewed sport in India today, after cricket.