Hockey India League to resume after eight years

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Hockey India League to resume after eight years
New Delhi: After a gap of eight years, the Hockey India League (HIL) is set for revival and is scheduled to start in late December. Hockey India (HI) has received clearance from the global body to host the event from December 28 to February 1 with the tournament to adopt a home-and-away format.

“We have been given a clear window by the international hockey federation (FIH). We have been in touch with many national federations like Australia and Netherlands, all of whom have agreed that their best players will be available,” HI secretary general Bhola Nath Singh said here on Sunday.

HIL was held from 2013 to 2017 before it folded. The new version will have eight teams. The women’s HIL, involving six teams, will be held simultaneously. Each team will have separate owners and the 14 entities have more or less been finalised. The players’ auction will take place post the Paris Olympics.

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Soon after taking over as HI president in September 2022, former India skipper Dilip Tirkey and his management team had expressed the desire to revive the league that folded due to financial and scheduling issues. In April 2023, HI named Big Bang Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. as its commercial and marketing partner for the league. The HIL committee met for the first time in July 2023 to discuss the financial model proposed by the agency, which was approved by the HI executive Board reviewed. “HIL will be held under HI, but will have a separate governing body,” Nath said.

India midfielders Hardik Singh and Salima Tete were adjudged the 2023 men’s and women’s Player of the Year. They were presented the Balbir Singh Sr award and ₹25 lakh each at the HI annual awards held here on Sunday. The Upcoming Player of the Year (U-21) award went to Deepika Soreng and Araijeet Singh Hundal, who received a trophy and ₹10 lakh each. Other awardees are: Abhisek (best forward), Hardik Singh (best midfielder), Harmanpreet Singh (best defender) and P Sreejesh (best goalkeeper). A total prize pool was ₹7.56 crore.

Ashok Kumar, the 1975 World Cup hero, was presented the lifetime achievement award named after his late father, hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand.

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