The auction and player draft for the inaugural edition of the Pro Volleyball League concluded here today after an intense bidding war for Indian players. India’s newest franchise-based professional league, an initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation of India, saw 6 foreign players picked through a draft process while 117 Indian players going under the hammer.
Ahmedabad Defenders didn’t hold back in acquiring the services of Ranjit Singh for Rs. 13 lakhs, making him the costliest Indian player in the auction. The attacker who has represented India with distinction was surprised and excited at the end of the day's proceedings. "I am excited to see what's building up here. For all of us, this is a new chapter and hope we can live up to the expectations and faith shown in us by the team owners, federation and organizers here," said
In the foreign player draft, the Black Hawks Hyderabad got Round 1 first pick and they chose Carson Clark. Paul Lotman was the second pick joining Calicut Heroes. The third pick of the foreign draft was Rudy Verhoeff joining Chennai Spartans. Tomislav Coskovic, David Lee and Novica Bjelica were picked 4th, 5th & 6th by U Mumba Volley, Kochi Blue Spikers and Ahmedabad Defenders respectively.
Olympic Gold medalist Lee was drafted by Kochi Blue Spikers and said, “I am thrilled to join the Kochi Blue Spikers and looking forward to forming a formidable outfit alongside other players in the team. The league will do a world of good not only to the players but also the sport and its fans. Can't wait to get to India and get in the thick of action.”
The Pro Volleyball League (PVL) scheduled to begin on 2nd February 2019 promises to be a thrilling prospect with six franchises who were present at the player draft and auction. Less than a month ago, the league had announced the team owners of the six franchisees that includes Bonhomie Sports Event Mgmt. Ltd. who own Ahmedabad Defenders, the Calicut Heroes owned by Beacon Sports, the Chennai Spartans owned by Chennai Spartans Pvt. Ltd., U Mumba Volley owned by U Sports, Black Hawks Hyderabad owned by Agile Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and the Kochi Blue Spikers owned by Thomas Muthoot.
Pro Volleyball League’s first season will be held in two volleyball hotbeds of India i.e. Kochi (Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium) and Chennai (Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium). Each of the six teams will have 12 players including two foreign players, one Indian icon player and two Indian U-21 players. The league will be played over a total of 18 matches with each team playing each other once in a round-robin format and the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals.
Tuhin Mishra, Co-Founder & MD, Baseline Ventures Pvt. Ltd. said the successful conclusion of the player draft and auction was a historic moment in the sport. "Our endeavor is to take this sport and everyone in the sport on platform that is world-class. The player draft and auction today shows that the sport is ready to take the leap which will take it to the next level," said Mishra.
Meanwhile VFI Secretary General, Ramavtar Singh Jhakar also a former player, stated, “It is a known fact that well-organized leagues can give a sport much-needed shot in the arm. We expect Pro Volleyball League to do that to Volleyball. The player draft and auction is the beginning of the fillip that the sport needs.”