Hockey India League (HIL) will have its seventh franchise in Bengaluru with the JSW Steel Group-owned outfit set to enter the fray in 2018, league chairman Narinder Batra announced on Tuesday.
HIL has been a six-team affair since its inception in 2013 and with the entry of Bengaluru, the league will enter the southern part of India for the first time in what could be a clear indication of its steady rise.
“A new HIL team will come on board since 2018 in Bengaluru. We have had a lot of discussions with Jindal Steel and they have agreed to play from 2018,” Batra said here, after holding his first press conference in India after being elected president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Currently, HIL’s six franchises are based in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar.
Batra, meanwhile regretted that he failed to launch a women’s league on the lines of HIL during his time in charge of Hockey India (HI), the post he has to quit after being elected as the president of FIH.
“We wanted to launch a league for women’s hockey but we couldn’t do it during my time as HI president. I failed in that attempt and I regret that,” Batra said.
“Many will say that we rolled out a league for the men’s game and not for the women’s. But we failed to launch a women’s league. That will be my regret.”
Batra also hinted that HI officials will have a discussion with a company for a major sponsorship deal on Thursday.