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Premier Handball League’s inaugural edition from December 24
Jaipur, December 6, 2020
The inaugural edition of the Premier Handball League (PHL) will be held from December 24 to January 10 at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium in Jaipur.
The 18-day long first season will feature 30 league matches followed by three knockout games and will be held under the aegis of the Handball Federation of India (HFI).
Season 1 of the league will have six teams —Telangana Tigers, UP Icons, Maharashtra Handball Hustlers, KingHawks Rajasthan, Bengal Blues and Punjab Pitbulls — battling for the title.
The PHL will see more than 80 players taking part in the inaugural edition as each team will consist of 14 players.
"The Premier Handball League will infuse fresh breath to the sport which has immense potential at grassroot level. The league will bring exciting competition among the players as well as help build handball as a brand. Handball already enjoys huge popularity globally and as a federation our vision is to create a similar holistic growth story in India too,” said HFI President Arshnapally Jagan Mohan Rao at the launch of the PHL in Jaipur on Saturday.
Rajiv Arora, Vice-President of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress, HFI Vice President Anandeshwar Pandey, Thakur Tejraj Singh, HFI, PHL co-promoters Aseem Merchant and Manu Agrawal and CEO Mrinalini Sharma were also present at the launch.
Ranked 32 in the world, the Indian team is expected to get a new impetus with the emergence of the PHL.
“We have close to 80,000 registered players playing the game in India. This is a huge number considering presence of the sport in India," said Pandey.
"Handball is an Olympic sport and India is looked at as the next big thing by the international federation in terms of talent and opportunities. I feel PHL has come at the right time which will help us in our mission for Olympics and build impact of the sport in India,” he added.
With a strong presence in states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, handball has been identified as a priority sport by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
“I have been aligned with the PHL since its inception and as a promoter of the league and a supporter of handball athletes across India. It is always an exciting prospect to create a platform for athletes and be enablers in a wider scheme of things wherein the dream is to ensure our athletes making our nation proud at the Olympics,” Merchant added.