It is time for wrestling to join the sporting leagues’ bandwagon. The auction for the inaugural Pro Wrestling League (PWL) will be held here on November 3 with more than 100 top international wrestlers from 25 countries taking part.
Billed as the world’s richest Olympic style wrestling league, the PWL would have six franchises with a team strength of 10 wrestlers each, including a marquee player. The teams can have a maximum of four overseas wrestlers, and must include four women. Each team would have a purse of Rs. 2 crore with the bid for the marquee player starting at the base price of $50,000, similar to the Olympic and world championship winners.
A joint venture of the Wrestling Federation of India and Pro Sportify Pvt. Ltd., the PWL is supported by the IWF. Those who have agreed to be a part of the it include more than 20 medal winners from the recent worlds at Las Vegas, current European, Asiad and CWG champions and other international medal winners.
Three-time women’s world champion Adeline Gray of USA called the league a “historic move in international wrestling that, by bringing in huge sums of money, has taken a bold step in popularising the sport at world level.”
India’s only double Olympic medallist, Sushil Kumar, is also confident of the league promoting wrestling in the country.
“It will be a great boost when the cream of world wrestling comes to India. This will be a great opportunity for our players to travel with them and learn a lot” said Sushil.
While the identity of the six team owners is yet to be revealed, the organisers confirmed that yesteryear Bollywood star Dharmendra and GMR Group were among the PWL franchisees. “The PWL players’ auction will be a landmark in the history of the sport, giving the franchises an opportunity to bid for the world’s best players,” said WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.