The just-concluded Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) auctions witnessed a massive hike in the price tags of players, with five Indians and one foreigner entering the Rs 1 crore club, adding a whole new level of glamour to the ancient rural sport.
With the sixth season of the cash-rich league set to start later this year, is there a need for auctions every year? Tournament Director Charu Sharma feels yearly auctions provide the franchises a chance to rebuild and re-organise themselves.
Talking to IANS, Sharma, the brain behind the indigenous sporting league, explained why holding auctions on a yearly basis works.
"We have an auction because in the early stages of this league, we don't want some team to lag behind and some others to go too far forward," he said.
"Regular auctions give the teams that didn't perform well in the last season a chance to deliver well again. It keeps their hope alive of doing well as auctions allow them to rebuild and re-organise themselves," the PKL director added.
Commenting on this year's auction, Sharma said it was surprising to see the growth of the league within a short span of time.
"I am very surprised. It's good for the game and the players who became millionaires. If the players are being benefited, most of our objectives are achieved," he said.
With the amount spent on players rising every year, Sharma, also a noted TV commentator, said the price purse given to each franchise could likely be increased in the coming years.
"We have talked to the franchises regarding this and we want to move in a steady way. We don't want to impose anything on them (franchises) and whenever each of them is ready, definitely the price purse will be increased," said Sharma.
"The more sponsors come, our income will increase -- with which the price purse will also be raised," he added.
The PKL director also hinted that the league could witness the addition of four new teams in the near future.
"I think we could have 16 teams in such a big country, but we want to expand steadily. As of now, our sole aim is to be stable and rock solid," he said.
He said Ranchi could have a team in the PKL as the city has good sporting infrastructre and connectivity.
"May be Ranchi could have a team in PKL as it has a fantastic indoor stadium, good facilities, connectivity and sporting interest," he concluded.
(Kaushik Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)