Hockey India League 2018 to feature Bengaluru-based team, reveals Narinder Batra
The recently elected President of the International Hockey Federation addressed the Indian media for the first time In Delhi after being crowned as the FIH’s head. Dr Batra in the Press conference said that a new franchise, owned by Jindal Steel, from Bangalore will be competing in the 2018 HIL season, which will be now featuring 7 teams in total.
"A new HIL team will come on board since 2018 in Bengaluru. We have had a lot of discussions with Jindal Steel and they have agreed to play from 2018. The tournament will now have 7 teams in total and the number of teams can also go up to 8."
India will also host quite a few major hockey tournaments in the coming years, U-17 men/women’s 5 a side Youth Olympics, Asian Champions Trophy 2018 and the World cup to provide more hockey entertainment to the Indian fans.
Champions Trophy Hockey (Men) Tournament could be discontinued in the coming years and be replaced by the FIH World Hockey league, which is also a biennial tournament (Men and women’s)and is also a qualifying tournament for the Hockey World Cup in both the gender categories.
On being asked about the Presidential takeover, Dr Batra revealed that it is a proud moment for him and the country.
“I have maintained it from years that I am passionate about hockey and want to contribute and add to the sport from my side, if you will ask me what’s my blood group I will say hockey.”
Talking about his strategies to promote the game, he added that the FIH is working on a 10 years strategy called the “Hockey Revolution”, under which the major aspects like promotion of events, professionalism in the sport, revenue and broadcasting will be worked upon to get maximum people from all around the world involved in the revolution and come forward to see hockey as a global sport.
“We are planning on a 10 years strategy, that we call Hockey revolution. Hockey Revolution focuses on 4 major areas, develop innovative events, increase professionalism in the sport, proper broadcast and revenue generation.”
“We are working on a fan-focused portfolio, so people can enjoy when they come to stadium to see a hockey match, and we are negotiating with broadcasters like BT sports in England and Star in India for the broadcasting rights.”
About the introduction of new tournaments, Mr Batra said a few new tournaments will be introduced with time and there is a possibility that Champions Trophy is discontinued in near future.
“At FIH we work together and are planning to bring in new events so that fans get to see hockey matches all around the year, there is a possibility that Champions Trophy will be discontinued, but nothing is official yet.”
Dr Batra currently holds four prestigious positions, which he will be quitting soon. Speaking about his current positions and the takeover of the posts he said
“I will quit four positions and will only be focusing On the FIH, I will quit the following positions of president, Jammu &Kashmir Hockey Federation, President of Hockey India, Chairman of HIL and Vice President of the Asian Hockey Federation, I can also quit IOC.”
“It will be a smooth takeover of power and should not take more than a month for all the things like sponsors and other important things to be introduced to the new hockey India President.”
He also threw some light on the development of hockey in India and stated that Indian hockey is already on a progressive track and even without him on the board; the organization will continue to function efficiently.
“If I am out of Hockey India I am out, and I think even without me the things will remain same and the graph will rise. Any bilateral series is majorly a political decision, but India and Pakistan will play against in each other in a neutral venue which has been agreed upon and all the previous issues between India and Pakistan, including the Champions Trophy matter has been resolved.
“My major responsibility will be to expand hockey geographically and increase the number of participating countries and overcome the revenue challenges faced by some economically unstable teams.”
Dr Narinder Batra created history at the 45th International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress, where he was crowned as the President of the FIH. Batra is the first ever Non-European to have made it to the top post of the elite organization. After being elected as the FIH president it was his first Press conference in Delhi on Tuesday.