World Kabaddi League players may be banned
Apart from starting an IPL-style league for the sport (Pro Kabaddi) the apex body for sport in India said they will not allow players participating in ‘unrecognised’ World Kabaddi League (WKL), which is being held in London simultaneously.
For the record, the BCCI had banned players, who had participated in the rebel league, International Cricket League. After the ban, the cricket body launched their own league, Indian Premier League (IPL).
Pro Kabaddi is played on rectangular court, while WKL is played as per circle kabaddi rules. Though the formats of both the leagues are different, president of AKFI, Janardan Singh Gehlot told TOI that players participating in the WKL won’t be allowed to play in teams or tournaments organised by AKFI. “One, they are not ‘real’ kabaddi players, so there is no question us absorbing them. Two, even if they (WKL players) want to come and play in teams or tournaments affiliated to AKFI, they won’t be allowed,” Gehlot said.
Gehlot, who is also president of the International Kabaddi Federeation (IKF), said not just India, WKL players will not be allowed to participate in any team affiliated to the IKF.
The AKFI and IKF had earlier raised an objection over the conduct of WKL, calling it ‘unrecognised’. According to Gehlot, the league has not been approved either by the AKFI or the Indian government. But since “India is a democratic country, anybody can organise any league.” On the contrary, chief executive officer of WKL Raman Raheja remains unfazed by Gehlot’s threat. “I don’t understand why are they trying to force their hold over circle kabaddi.
The AKFI or IKF have nothing to do with circle kabaddi. They are governing bodies for the rectangular format and not circular, while our league deals in circular format. There is no reason we should seek permission from them,” Raheja told TOI from London.
On WKL players’ ban threat, Raheja said WKL players are not worried about such bans, as they won’t play on rectangular courts. “They will ban WKL players from playing on rectangular courts, but they can’t stop them from playing on circular courts. This is not under their jurisdiction. So we are not bothered about such threats,” he said. “There are many countries, like Pakistan, who have sent players approved by their government. If we were unconstitutional, they wouldn’t have sent them,” he added.