Kottayam: The Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) is hell-bent on spoiling the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) party it seems. As the Season 2 of the Baseline Ventures-backed PVL's first phase is set to begin in Bengaluru on February 4, the VFI will hold two national-level tournaments around the same time.
The VFI's National Senior Volleyball Championship will begin in Guwahati on February 2 while the Federation Cup is scheduled to be held in Kochi from February 28 to March 7.
Since the PVL doesn't have any involvement from the national sports federation, it is believed that the hidden agenda behind holding two major championships to clash with the PVL is to force the country’s leading players, who have already been roped for the PVL, to opt out of the professional league. Out of the 112 players featuring for the eight PVL teams in Season 2, 96 are Indians.
As per an order issued by the Competition Commission of India, any Indian player is free to participate in private leagues. Therefore, the VFI cannot compel players to withdraw from the league. At the same time, the governing body can initiate disciplinary action against them for skipping national-level tournaments. They also face the threat of being disallowed from taking part in the upcoming international events, including the Asian Games in Hangzhou scheduled to be held in September-October.
As the country’s biggest stars who are set to play in the PVL will not be able to attend the two national events, the VFI is allegedly employing arm-twisting tactics so as to put pressure on the players to give the PVL a miss. A cloud of uncertainty hangs over their participation in the National Games 2023, to be held in Goa in October, as well. The PVL players from Kerala will also miss the State Senior Volleyball Championship, which begins in Kozhikode on Thursday.
Notably, the VFI had organised a national-level tournament during the first season of the PVL. Those who participated in the league were not considered for the national team for the Asian Men's Volleyball Championship. The federation had also directed state associations to disallow the PVL players from attending the 2022 National Games held in Gujarat.