Pro Kabaddi League Season 5: 10 Pakistani players named in auction list, but questions remain over participation
Pakistan were barred from playing the Kabaddi World Cup last year.
The Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 is all set to get underway in July and before all the players step onto the mat, they will go under the hammer to determine who will play for which team. The auctions are slated for a Monday start and will take place over two days as 12 teams, including four new ones, will vie for a total of 353 players.
The players have been divided into different categories, which will determine the base price for each one. Each team begins with a purse of Rs 4 crore and is required to form a squad consisting of 18-25 players.
Each team will also be required to have a minimum of two foreign players in their squad, with an upper limit of four. Led by star defender Fazel Atrachali, a total of 62 international players will be up for auction come Monday from countries across the globe.
Out of the 62, 10 players will be from Pakistan, at a time when tensions between the two neighbouring countries are very high, given the recent ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army and the Kulbhushan Jadhav trial at the International Court of Justice.
Speaking to Sportskeeda regarding the matter, the assistant secretary of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) Mr. Deoraj Chaturvedi stated that there is no assurance regarding the Pakistani players getting visas and that it remains to be seen whether any player from Pakistan is picked up in the auction in the first place.
“We can’t give out visas before the auction or block players simply on the basis of their nationality. First, we will have to see if any team picks up their players first. After that, we will see what the Home Ministry decides. It’s not in our hands,” said Mr. Chaturvedi.
When asked whether any prior instruction has been received regarding the Pakistani players from the government, he said, “We haven’t received any word. The process is that we will apply for the visas if those players are bought. Then, it’s the decision of the Ministry.”
It looks unlikely even if any player from the country is picked up, that he will be granted a visa to play in the Pro Kabaddi League. Pakistan, despite being a strong team, were barred from participating in the Kabaddi World Cup last year by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), whose president at the time was Mr. Chaturvedi himself.
The decision caused an outrage, especially across the border, with the president of the Pakistani federation calling it a ‘FIFA World Cup without Brazil’. While that comparison is certainly a debatable one, the fact that there will some air of tension when the players from Pakistan go under the hammer, is a certainty.