Hockey

World Series from December 15

Hockey aficionados in the country will get to see world class fare in the form of the $2 million prize money World Series Hockey (WSH) from December 15 to January 22, 2012.

The FIH has given a written undertaking to the promoter of the WSH, Nimbus Sport, that it will not interfere with the launch of the inaugural event that will have eight franchise teams. The WSH will be played at Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Punjab (Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar) and two of the short-listed cities in Kolkata, Rourkela, Bhopal, Ranchi, Pune, Manipur and Lucknow.

“Yannick Colaco (Chief Operating Officer, Nimbus Sport) and I met the FIH President, Leandro Negre, in Lausanne and received the written undertaking. The WSH will be played between the FIH Champions Trophy (to be played in New Delhi from December 3 to 11) and the Olympic qualifiers that starts on February 15, 2012. I don't know if the FIH had taken legal counsel, but we can look forward to a smooth event.

Will not interfere

“The undertaking is that the FIH will not interfere with the contracts signed with the nearly 176 international and Indian players before March 31, 2011. We will run the event with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), which is the controlling body for hockey in India,'' said Harish Thawani, Executive Chairman, Nimbus Communications.

Nimbus introduced the captains of six franchise teams by presenting them a hockey stick each at a press conference here on Thursday and two through an audio-visual presentation. The eight captains are Sardara Singh, Adrian D'Souza, Arjun Halappa, Prabjhot Singh, Brent Livermore (Australia) and Rodrigo Garza Barbero (Spain) — all present at the conference — and Rehan Butt (Pakistan) and Lucas Vila (Argentina).

“The first thing that came to my mind was the IPL. The WSH is fantastic for world hockey and I want to be part of it,'' said Livermore, member of the Australian team that won the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

In all 61 matches (56 league and five more of play-offs, semifinals and final) will be played, with each team playing 14 league matches; seven each on a home-and-away basis.

“The WSH will be a domestic tournament and it will benefit India internationals, juniors and emerging players. There are around 40 overseas players. The players, captains, coaches will be distributed to the eight franchise teams on a ‘draft' system. The IHF and the technical committee will select the match officials from India and abroad,'' said Thawani, who put the initial investment at Rs. 125 crore.

The overseas segment will have players from Australia, Argentina, Spain, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Korea, Germany and the Netherlands.

Gap widening

“German coach Paul Lissek said India is good in short tournaments. The gap between India and other countries is widening. The WSH will help bridge the gap. The Indians will learn from playing with overseas players and also playing under foreign coaches,'' said K.P.S. Gill, advisor, IHF.

Four franchises will be determined by invitation and the other four by competitive bids.

“We have already signed with two franchises. The matches will be broadcast live to over 30 countries. We will soon identify the broadcaster through a competitive bid process. We have launched the website and the stakeholders will initiate affinity programmes to build fan base. Security concerns have been addressed.

“We have signed Pakistan players and, hopefully, they will be part of the WSH. The prize money is $2 million and an additional $1 million has been allocated for bonuses based on player performance. All the Indian players at the ongoing camp in Bangalore have signed contracts,'' said Thawani.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 6:19:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/world-series-from-december-15/article2282644.ece

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