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Stage set for Premier Hockey League

November 17, 2004 16:21 IST

The much-awaited Premier Hockey League, which will feature almost all the leading players of the country as well as internationals from Pakistan, South Korea and Spain, will kick-off in Hyderabad on January 13.

Announcing the names of captains for the top tier of the event, to be held at Gochibowli Stadium, Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill said negotiations are on with 17 foreign players to play alongside their Indian counterparts in the month-long competition.

"We have been discussing about the hockey league for the last three years and now it has been more or less finalised. The first year it will be held in Hyderabad and subsequently it will be extended to other parts of the country," said Gill in Delhi on Wednesday.

"So far 17 international players have expressed their keenness to play in the league. But it's premature to name them as it is still in the negotiation stage."

The format of the PHL has ten teams divided into two tiers, each having "interesting names to catch the attention of hockey lovers".

Tier I will be called the Premier Division while Tier II will be known as the First Division. The league will follow a round-robin format with all teams playing each other twice. The champion will be determined on the basis of total points culled from the matches.

The Tier I teams are Sher-e-Jallandhar, Maratha Warriors (Mumbai), Chennai Veerans, Hyderabad Sultans and Bangalore High-Fliers.

The teams will be captained by Gagan Ajit Singh, Viren Rasqunha, Ignace Tirkey, Dilip Tirkey and Arjun Halappa respectively.

The Tier II teams, whose captains are yet to be named, are Delhi Dazzlers, Lucknow Nawabs, Imphal Rangers, Bengal Tigers and Chandigarh Dynamos.

ESPN-STAR Sports will telecast live the league for the next ten years.

Innovations have been made in the PHL to increase viewer interest in the game. A game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds instead of the two halves. The concept of time-outs will be introduced to liven up the game. Victory in the stipulated time will fetch three points while the team winning in extra-time will get two points and the loser one.

The winner of Tier I will get Rs 30 lakh (3 million) while the runner-up will get Rs 10 lakh (one million) .

The Tier II winner will get Rs 400,000 while the runner-up Rs 250,000.

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