Srinagar: A franchise-based badminton league on the lines of hugely successful Indian Premier League cricket tournament will be held early next year featuring top Indian and international players, BAI said on Wednesday.
The Badminton Association of India took the decision during its executive committee meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 77th Senior National Championship at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Complex here.
"BAI has given the go ahead to Maharashtra for hosting the Indian Badminton League. We will have 6-8 teams. The commercial partners have already been finalised but a few modalities are yet to be done, so we will be making the major announcement in the last week of this month alongwith the commercial partners," said BAI president Akhilesh Das Gupta.
The tournament will have top India shuttlers as well as international players enthralling fans across the country.
"It is going to be a first of its kind tournament. We are in touch with the BWF (international parent body). We will have international players and we want to host it around February next year," Das Gupta said.
"We have made Maharashtra as a nodal agency. Mumbai, being the commercial hub, also has the experience. The matches will be held on a home and away basis. It is a new concept and it still needs to be developed," he added.
The BAI also decided to make it mandatory for the top players to participate in the national championship.
"We have formed a three-member committee including chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand, former player Vimal Kumar and Maharashtra Badminton Association president Pradeep Gandhe to persuade the senior national players to give importance to Senior Nationals. We have made it mandatory for top players to participate in the Nationals," he said.
Interestingly, London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal skipped the 77th edition of the Nationals, citing a muscle tear. She has not participated in the National Championship since 2007, the year she retained her title.
"We will be also writing to Indian Olympic Association and Sports Ministry regarding this development and get their nod," the BAI president said.
Asked if the BAI was going to ask the players to prove their match fitness after returning from an injury, Das Gupta said "we will follow it as a policy".
The BAI also come up with a development plan as a part of which many small tournaments would be held across the country involving top players.
The BAI also decided to felicitate Gopi Chand and P V Sindhu with a prize money of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.