Despite being hugely beneficial for Indian men’s hockey, the HIL was discontinued in 2017 due to the financial burden it put on team owners.Despite being hugely beneficial for Indian men’s hockey, the HIL was discontinued in 2017 due to the financial burden it put on team owners.
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After a hiatus of several years, the Hockey India League (HIL) is all set to make a grand comeback with significant changes and promising prospects. Scheduled to kick off this year, the revamped league promises a bigger player purse, revamped franchise norms, and a streamlined format that aims to reinvigorate the sport on a national scale.

New Developments in Hockey India League

The upcoming edition of the Hockey India League has introduced several exciting updates:

  1. Enhanced Player Purse: Players, both domestic and international, can look forward to a more lucrative auction with increased incentives. Over 1,000 domestic players, along with approximately 500 international stars, have shown interest in participating, marking a significant surge in enthusiasm post the Paris Olympics.
  2. Franchise Norms: Unlike its previous format of home-and-away matches, the HIL will now adopt a more condensed approach with matches primarily hosted at two venues: Ranchi and Rourkela. This change aims to streamline operations and reduce logistical complexities for the franchises.
  3. Exclusion of Pakistani Players: A notable decision in this edition is the exclusion of Pakistani players from participating. This decision stems from the eligibility criterion that allows only those players from countries ranked in the top 15 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Unfortunately, Pakistan currently stands at the 16th position in the rankings.

Insights from Hockey India Officials

In response to queries about the absence of Pakistani players, a Hockey India official clarified that the rule was not intentionally exclusionary. Originally, the league aimed to include players from the top 10 nations to ensure high-quality competition. However, after deliberation, the threshold was set at the top 15, inadvertently leaving out Pakistan due to their current ranking.

Commercial and Franchise Interests

The return of the HIL has attracted substantial interest from commercial and franchise sectors. Big Bang Media Ventures, the league’s commercial partners, have engaged with over 30 potential franchise owners. Noteworthy participants include prominent names from the Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian Super League (ISL), and even chess academies.

Several established entities like Adani, Jindal Sports, and GMR (co-owners of Delhi Capitals in IPL) have expressed keen interest in owning HIL franchises. This influx of interest underscores the league’s potential to blend sporting prowess with robust commercial backing.

Future Prospects

As preparations gather pace, the league is slated to commence from the last week of December to the first week of February, sanctioned by the FIH. Franchise ownerships are expected to be finalized soon, with contracts spanning a decade, promising stability and long-term growth for stakeholders.

With an overwhelming response from international players and ongoing discussions to extend registration deadlines post-Olympics, the anticipation for the HIL’s return is palpable among sports enthusiasts worldwide.


The revival of the Hockey India League represents a pivotal moment for Indian hockey, poised to reignite national interest and elevate the sport to new heights. As stakeholders gear up for the auctions and franchise announcements, all eyes are on Ranchi and Rourkela, where the action is set to unfold, promising an exhilarating season ahead.

Stay tuned as we bring you more updates on the Hockey India League and its journey towards sporting excellence!

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