Pro Kabaddi League returns after a year

After seven successive seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the competition did not take place last year due to the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Published: 22nd December 2021 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2021 07:55 AM   |  A+A-

FILE | Patna Players in action during the Pro Kabaddi League match between Dabang Delhi and UP Yoddha in Patna. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  After seven successive seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the competition did not take place last year due to the Covid-19 situation in the country. But the organisers were eager to make it happen this season despite the pandemic still being prevalent. It was always going to be a huge challenge and the eighth edition, starting on Wednesday in Bengaluru, is unique on several fronts. 

First up, it is not going to be played in a stadium per se. The league will be hosted at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre, but they have no left no stone unturned. There are three mats at the venue with one of them being used solely for matches while the others will be used for practice sessions. With 12 teams in the competition, teams have to follow a tight schedule if they are to practice at the venue.

It is a first for a league of such stature to be played in a hotel, which also doubles up as a residence for all the 12 teams. With players’ health and safety of utmost importance, having the entire competition at one venue is looked upon as a safer option.

The players and officials will have to adhere to the strict protocols in place inside the bio bubble, where they are going to be regularly tested.  What makes it even more difficult is the players will have to stay at the hotel for approximately 60 days. There are dedicated floors for players and officials alike at the hotels and teams have been putting efforts into recreational activities. In the last 18 months or so, a number of competitions and franchise-based leagues took place in different parts of the world, including India. So, the PKL have taken a leaf from them and are confident of pulling off a unique edition in Bengaluru.

“We have learned from all the leagues, who kept themselves going during the pandemic. I think it is a great effort and th­ere are very relevant examples for us to follow and best practices too,” said Anupam Go­swami, CEO, Mashal Sports and League Commissioner, PKL. “It is a team contact sport so there is a comprehensive bubble for all teams and the competition to be at a single location. It is a very stringent, stern disciplinary process and all the 12 teams have adapted to it. We have seen strong participation and compliance by teams.”  


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