New Delhi: At a time when the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) is in troubled waters with the reported withdrawl of two teams, Hockey India (HI) on Friday roped in Deccan Water Treatment Pvt Ltd as the owners of the Pune franchise, the new addition to the city-based tournament.
The first two editions of the tournament was played among six sides, but now Pune will be the new host city. Although it is still unclear whether Pune will be the seventh team of the event as Mumbai Magicians and champions of inaugural HIL Ranchi Rhinos have reportedly withdrawn from the league owing to differences with the orgainsers.
The Pune franchise has been bought by Anirban Sarkar, owner of the Deccan Water Treatment Pvt. Ltd, a company founded in 1998 which deals in the field of waste water treatment and developed packaged type sewage treatment plant working in India and overseas with a value of nearly Rs 2000 crore turnover.
"We welcome Deccan Water Treatment and Mr Sarkar as the new franchise for next season's Hockey India League. These are exciting times for us as a new city will be able to witness the tournament and the amount of people we will be reaching out too will also be more in number," HIL secretary general and HIL chairman Narinder Batra said.
Talking about the growth of the sport in the country he said, "With a new franchise coming in and a company like Deccan Water Treatment contributing to the sport, we are moving in the right direction."
The owner of the Pune franchise, Sarkar said: "Having closely and sincerely following the developments of hockey in our country under the leadership of Narinder Batra, I was very impressed and felt a need to be a part and contribute to the sport."
"The cradle for hockey in India has seen stars like Baboo Nimal, Joseph Philips, Dhanraj Pillay, Vikram Pillay and many international and national players and I too grew up like many other Pune boys playing for my school in inter school and zilla parishad matches with borrowed hockey sticks from friends. Buying the Pune franchise is the just the beginning for a larger and better future for the sport in the country," Sarkar added.
Deccan Water Treatment Pvt. Ltd. Is the pioneer in the manufacturing of RO systems for drinking water specialised for desalination and arsenic removal by reverse osmosis process.
The third edition of HIL, scheduled to be held January-February next year, was expected to be a eight-team affair but the pull out of Mumbai Magicians and Ranchi Rhinos have left HI with no option but to conduct the next season with six teams, just like the previous two editions.
According to sources in HI, a new owner for the Mumbai team will be unveiled soon while Pune will replace the Ranchi franchise.