New Delhi: World Kabaddi League (WKL), the first professional Kabaddi League of the world, today announced the franchisees names and logos of its teams in presence of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Badal.
The international-level league, slated to kick off on August 9, will have eight international teams including those owned by Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha and star rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh.
While Kumar has bought Speedy Singhs along with Fastway Sports Development Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of Fastway Transmissions, Singh owns Yo Yo Tigers, named after his own name. Both the stars were present on the occasion.
The other teams are Vancouver Lions owned by Gurjit Singh Purewal; Haryana Focus, owned by R and AAR Communication, an off-shoot of Focus Television; Punjab Thunders owned by Thind Properties. It is also co-owned by Bollywood actor Rajat Bedi.
United Singhs, co-owned by Sonakshi Sinha and California Eagles, owned by the Tut Group are the other teams.
Stressing on the need to take the sport to a global stage, Badal said: "You can say that people in India think of only one sport and I think there are so many sports which can be encouraged so I took up this challenge to make this one sport reach the international level."
Asked whether the new league was complementary to the existing Pro Kabaddi League or its competitor, he said, "WKL is completely different in the sense that this is Kabaddi in circle style which is a pure Punjab style, while Pro Kabaddi is a national style.
"The way it is played is completely different. It`s more aggressive than the national style," the minister said.
Asked what his government was doing to promote the sport in the grassroots of Punjab, Badal said: "In Punjab, my plan is to create one Kabaddi stadium in each district and block of Punjab within the next two years. Not very big ones but small stadiums to encourage the sport."
Badal, who is the mind behind the league, further hinted that even women`s teams can be included in the upcoming league in future.
"Once we build up this Kabaddi League, the next step would be to make women`s teams a part of it in future," Badal revealed.
The league will see 86 matches to be played in 13 international cities during a four-month long calender.
A prize money of Rs 3.5 Crore has also been announced for the winner team with the salary of each player pegged at Rs 15 crore, higher than that of the Pro Kabaddi Team.
WKL recently signed up with India`s sports and entertainment channel Sony SIX for its broadcast coverage in India.