Kochi to host Pro Volleyball League next year

Nearly 400 players up for grabs in the auction to be held on Tuesday

The country’s long wait for a professional volleyball league is over. Nearly three years after the Pro Volley League, which ran for just one season after issues with the Volleyball Federation of India stopped the show, the Pro Volleyball League (PVL) 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 The Hindu on Monday.

The PVL’s auction will be held here 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.

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

Seven teams

There will seven teams — Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, Bengaluru Torpedoes and Kolkata Thunderbolts — in the fray..

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:

Sajjad Hussain & S. Dakshinamoorthy (Ahmedabad Defenders), K.R. Lakshminarayana (Bengaluru Torpedoes), Kishore Kumar (Calicut Heroes).

Chander Singh (Chennai Blitz), Ruben Wolochin (Hyderabad Black Hawks), M.H. Kumara (Kochi Blue Spikers), and Sunny Joseph (Kolkata Thunderbolts).

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