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Indian hockey superleague launched

The Times of India reports that in a show of defiance against Hockey India, almost the entire Indian team has signed up for the million dollar prize money World Series Hockey launched by Nimbus Sport and the Indian Hockey Federation. The league is also on the lookout for European recruits with the lure of a possible windfall of over £70,000.

The Times of India reports that in a show of defiance against Hockey India, almost the entire Indian team has signed up for the million dollar prize money World Series Hockey launched by Nimbus Sport and the Indian Hockey Federation. The league is also on the lookout for European recruits with the lure of a possible windfall of over £70,000.
The new league seems likely to increase the infighting that has dogged Indian hockey in recent years. League’s backers the IHF have not been recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) since 2008, when it failed to form a combined body for men and women as per FIH rules. However the IHF is the body recognised by the Indian government, although FIH-affiliated Hockey India has been selecting national teams in the midst of court battles.
Among the Indian stars who have signed up for the new league are national captain Rajpal Singh, penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh and world All Star team defender Sardar Singh. Each of them is expected to rake in between Rs 40-50 lakh (£58-72,000) annually by playing in the first edition of the tournament to be held between November 2011 and February 2012.
Shivendra Singh, Arjun Halappa, Gurbaj Singh, Adrian D’Souza, Bharat Chetri, V S Vinaya, Bharat Chikara, Prabodh Tirkey and Tushar Khandekar are among the other recruits for the league which will feature 8-10 franchise-owned teams.
The Times of India reports that Nimbus chairman Harish Thawani challenged HI’s secretary-general Narender Batra for threatening to ban the players who take part in the league from representing India.
“I don’t know whether Mr Batra has said it or not, but if he had said it I am willing to fight it in court. There is a thing called restraint of trade,” said Thawani whose Nimbus is associated with the Cricket Board as its official broadcasters.
“What is Hockey India. It is just on paper. Anyway the matter is in the Supreme Court. IHF is recognised by the government. It is the body which has in its hold all hockey infrastructure,” he said.
“We would be offering prize money of more than $1 million initially and a top Indian player can take home between Rs 40 and 50 lakh through fees, endorsements etc,” he said.
Sandeep, who was present at the conference along with Sardar, Adrian, defender Dhananjay Mahadik and Gurjinder Singh junior despite the threat of ban issued by HI, said: “We have not received any instruction from Hockey India not to play in this league.
“Dum honge to khelega India ke liye (If we are capable we will play for India)”.
The League aims to sign up 60 top international players and all the players would be picked up by the American-style draft system.
“It will not be cattle like auction as we see in some leagues,” Thawani said taking a dig at the hugely successful Indian Premier League of BCCI.
Thawani said world hockey body FIH, which has recognised only HI, cannot stop any player from Europe from playing in the newly formed league.
“As you know FIH is based in Lausanne and is governed by European laws. These players are also represented by accredited player agents,” he declared. He also said that the league would welcome players from Pakistan subject to approval from government authorities.
Nimbus will also team up with IHF to organise, manage, develop, stage, market and broadcast the league to 70 countries.
The lowest-paid players are expected to pocket Rs 25-30 lakh (£36-44,000).

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