New dates for inaugural season will be announced soon
Considering the strict COVID protocols and players’ safety, the Handball Federation of India (HFI) in coordination with official license holder of the league PHL Sports India Private Limited has taken the decision to reschedule the inaugural edition of the Premier Handball League (PHL) to the first half of 2021.
The first season of the Premier Handball League was earlier scheduled to take place from December 24 in Jaipur.
“Players safety is of paramount importance to us. We wanted to conduct the inaugural season of the league as per announced schedule but the current situation has not been allowing us to get everything in place keeping the safety guidelines intact,” said HFI Vice President Anandeshwar Pandey.
He stated, “Any lapses would put the health of our players and other involved people in danger which we would never wish to happen. Hence, we had to take the difficult decision to postpone the league dates to the early part of the next year with the hope that the situation will improve by then and it will be conducive to hold sports events.”
Keeping in mind the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Handball League will be played without spectators and foreign players in a secured bio bubble with a seven-day mandatory quarantine ahead of the league. The utmost precautions will be taken while maintaining a secured environment with substitute players, broadcast crews and other support staff in case of any emergency.
The 18-day mega event is expected to involve close to 350 people on a daily basis including players, officials, organisers, owners and local administrative officials whereas the current state protocols only permit a gathering of not more than 100 people for a sports event.
The CEO of PHL, Mrinalini Sharma said, “Our entire team has been working hard to create a secure bubble ahead of the league. But with the involvement of more than 350 individuals, it’s difficult to create the desired environment and execute the safety plans in such a short span of time. With the league dates being rescheduled, we will have more time to put things in place and create the best and safest environment for our players and other stakeholders involved.”
Six teams-Telangana Tigers, UP Icons, Maharashtra Handball Hustlers, KingHawks Rajasthan, Bengal Blues and Punjab Pitbulls—are slated to take part in the inaugural season of the league with the participation of more than 80 athletes. Each team consists of 14 players.
With the emergence of the Premier Handball League, India is set to witness handball revolution in the country as the league aims to boost the chances of this Olympic sport and the exposure to its athletes with a world-class platform to showcase their talent at the global stage.