Kottayam: All-rounder Jerome Vineeth, blocker G S Akhin and attacker Shon T John are familiar faces in the national volleyball team. These star players are primed for greater heights. Sadly, none features in the state team announced by the Kerala State Volleyball Association for the National Games.
They are facing a ban for playing in the Prime Volleyball League (PVL), a franchisee-based tournament that started this year.
However, 15 of the 18-member Kerala team selected by the Kerala State Sports Council through selection trials, had played in the PVL. The Kerala Olympic Association will decide which of these teams will feature in the National Games but is yet to give any hint.
The sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures and six other franchisees organised the PVL in February, entirely excluding the Volleyball Federation of India. However, the Federation placed no ban on the players taking part in the league, and it featured most of the prominent players.
The Kerala State Volleyball Association officials are now saying that they have received a direction from the Federation not to select any players who featured in the PVL. Hence the association didn’t conduct any selection trials and announced a team on its own.
The Federation had earlier submitted a declaration before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that it won’t deny the players any opportunity to participate in the PVL or any other tournament. The CCI issued an order too in this regard. The action was taken in the case involving Baseline Ventures and the Federation.
Accordingly, the Federation didn't ban the players from competing in the PVL but initiated disciplinary action once the tournament was completed.
“We are giving our all and doing practice on 365 days with the intense desire to play for both Kerala and India. Nobody told us we shouldn't play in the PVL. We're being denied an opportunity to play in the National Games after a long wait of seven years," said national player Akhin.