Expect top badminton stars, including those from China, to participate in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), which will be held across six cities early in 2013.
Based on the lines of the immensely-popular Indian Premier League, the IBL will feature six franchisee-owned teams based in the cities where badminton is popular.
The IBL organisers are in talks with the leading players, including world No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, Olympic men’s singles champion Lin Dan and world No 4 Chen Jin of China, Denmark’s Peter Gade.
Sources said every player would be given attractive appearance fee, a first of its kind for the shuttlers.
Vice-chairman of the IBL governing council, Pradeep Gandhe, who is also the vice-president of the Badminton Association of India and president of the Maharashtra Badminton Association, told DNA: “Talks are on with the top players and we have to see who is available, who is not. Some have confirmed participation, some are in the process of doing so. We are working on the modalities and soon the dates of the League, the players participation, franchisee owners and other details will be announced after discussion among GC members and Sporty Solutionz Pvt Ltd, a TV rights management company based in Delhi, who will plan and execute the tournament for multiple years.”
Top Indian players including Saina Nehwal, P Kashyap among others are expected to participate to popularise the sport in the country.
Gandhe said the League will be first held in six cities where badminton culture is more prominent.
“Later, the horizon will be expanded with the League being introduced to not just to badminton lovers but also sports lovers.” He added that the league will be telecast all over the world.
The IBL governing council comprises Badminton Association president Akhilesh Das Gupta (chairman), BAI vice-president Pradeep Gandhe (vice-chairman), chief national coach Pullela Gopichand and former international Vimal Kumar (members) besides two officials of BAI and three from MBA. Prakash Padukone is an advisor to the IBL Governing Council.
Among the cities where badminton is popular in the country are Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Mumbai.