Volleyball league exposes cracks in federation

  • Vinayak Padmadeo, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2016 10:39 IST
Fault lines in the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) came to the fore as the second season of the India Volleyball League was announced here on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Fault lines in the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) came to the fore as the second season of the India Volleyball League was announced here on Wednesday.

VFI president Chaudhury Avadesh Kumar announced the holding of three leagues – men’s, women’s and beach volleyball in June with sports management firm Sportzlive.

Federation secretary-general Ramavatar Singh Jakhar too has plans to re-launch the league but with a different company. Jakhar said the ‘real VFI’ wanted a partnership with Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd.

Avadesh claimed the sport would be revitalised by rebooting the league that failed to take off after the inaugural edition in 2011.

“Volleyball players will get a sizeable amount of R8-10 lakh from the league,” he said. On Jakhar’s plans, Avadesh said it was a minor hurdle and he would approach his secretary general to resolve it.

“There is no controversy or fight between us. Other than being the secretary general, Ramavatar ji is like my younger brother, so we will sit and get over this. This is an internal matter of the federation and we will solve it,” said Avadesh.

Jakhar refuted the claims, saying the VFI executive wanted the league with Baseline Ventures as it was a better deal money-wise, with the federation retaining its hold on its functioning.

“Neither the secretary, treasurer or senior vice-president was present there, so how are they claiming that the deal was authorised by the VFI executive,” asked Jakhar.

Later in the day, he warned Sportzlive of legal action if it went ahead. “If Sportzlive and its director uses the name, logo and marks of VFI and gives wrong communication to the media, sponsors, broadcasters, players and fans, it would be liable for legal and appropriate action.”

Sportzlive director Atul Pande hoped the issue would be sorted out as the company had already paid the “first payment, license fee”.

“From our perspective, the federation has given us the rights, they have also given us the go-ahead to proceed and we have started the team sales and sponsorship process. So we are the rights owners along with the federation who are also a participant in the process. I can’t comment on what has happened in the federation, it is up to them to resolve the issue,” said Pande.

“We have an authorised contract from the federation, signed by the president and executive committee members and a clear authorisation letter from the secretary general to go ahead. From a legal perspective, we have a rock-solid contract with all the documentation,” he added.

On their part, the players have been caught in the turf war. V Ravikant Reddy, a former player and Arjuna awardee, termed it unfortunate. “The players were waiting for the league to restart. When they announced it, we hear there is another league. Another delay will be devastating for the sport and players,” he said.

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