New Delhi: Hockey India's (HI) ambitious professional league will hit-in during January-February next year with six city-based teams to start with.
HI secretary-general Narinder Batra told IANS Friday that they have identified 12 cities, but only the top six bidders will play in the inaugural edition. The 30-day tournament will start from first or second week of January.
"We have identified 12 cities and the top six bidders will have the teams. Talks are on with the sponsors, broadcasters and also groups, who have shown interest in buying team franchise," Batra told IANS.
Batra also said that each franchise will have a budget of Rs.3 crore to form a 24- member squad, comprising 10 overseas and 14 domestic players who will be bought in auction.
"But on a given time during the match, only five foreigners can be on the field," he said.
HI has created a pool of 96 domestic players, who will be taking part in the league. HI's league will also enjoy the approval of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Batra also said that talks are going on with broadcasters for the league. "We are also in talks with broadcasters but not with Neo Sports," he said.
Neo Sports and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), which is not recognised by FIH, recently held the unsanctioned World Series Hockey (WSH), which failed to attract much attention.
Top internationals, fearing bans, skipped the WSH, but they are expected to be part of HI's professional league.