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Pro Kabaddi League: Sports minister says Pakistan players not welcome in India

The fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is set to begin on June 25 with a clash between puneri Paltans and Telugu Titans in Pune and sports minister, Vijay Goel, has made it clear that no players from Pakistan will be allowed to compete.

other sports Updated: May 22, 2017 19:58 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
New Delhi
Pro Kabaddi League,PKL,Vijay Goel
Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has been a huge success so far and the organisers are hoping the fourth season will be a bigger affair.(HT Photo)

The Vivo Pro Kabaddi League franchises on Monday turned their backs on the 10-odd Pakistani players after the Indian government categorically said that they won’t be allowed to compete in the cash-rich league until Pakistan stops exporting terror..

Pakistan is one of the 16 countries whose players are listed in the auction for this season beginning June 25, but none of the franchises will bid for them. Hassan Raza was one of the 10 players from Pakistan listed in Category B of the auction with a base price of Rs12 lakh, but since he will go unsold, he will be kept as reserve..

Sports minister Vijay Goel said on Monday that, “They (the organisers) can call them (Pakistan players) but they can’t make them play. Even if they are selected, it is Government of India which will decide whether they are allowed or not. Unless Pakistan gets rid of terrorism, it is impossible to play with Pakistan.”

Earlier, Charu Sharma, director of Mashal Sports and an official of the organising committee told HT on the sidelines of the auction that, “Since the league has become global, (the) best in the business have been named in the auction list.

“Pakistan has played an important role in the development of kabaddi, which can’t be ignored. Pakistan has produced some of the best players in the discipline. But, it all depends whether the players get government clearance. If the government gives them visa, it’s good, if not, still we are happy,” he added.

Hemant Dua of Team Uttar Pradesh franchise reserved his comment on the issue, only saying that, “I will be in a better position to say something after the auction.”

During the inaugural edition in 2014, six Pakistani players took part, but the number declined to four in 2015, and even they couldn’t play because of protests from Shiv Sena.

Players have been divided into four categories --A, B, C and D -- depending on their performance. The base price in Category A is R20 lakh, while those in Categories B, C and D have a base price of R12, R8 and R5 lakh, respectively.

Each of the 12 franchises has a total purse of R4 crore, excluding the amount spent on the player retained.

First Published: May 22, 2017 18:13 IST