One-on-one to make its worldwide debut at 'Premier Hockey League'

NEW DELHI: The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) and Leisure Sports Management (LSM), the architects of India's very own domestic hockey league- The Premier Hockey League (PHL), today made a landmark announcement with regards to the rules of the third edition of the league.

International Hockey Federation's (FIH) latest innovation, one-on-one, will make its world-wide debut at the Premier Hockey League scheduled to begin in January 2007. The IHF also announced the composition of all the seven teams of the league along with their respective Coaches and Managers. As many as 20 foreign players are expected to add international flavor to the league scheduled in Chennai and Chandigarh. ESPN STAR Sports also announced continuance of the third umpire and special mikes for the on-field umpires, successfully implemented last year, as part of broadcasters' strategy of making PHL telecast amongst the best in the world.

Announcing the team compositions, KPS Gill said, "With the top seven teams from the last edition vying for the title and the increasing number of foreign players showing interest to participate, this season the league will showcase the quality of hockey Indian audiences have not witnessed so far. We are delighted to announce the captains for the seven teams, the names are as follows:

" Devesh Chauhan - Hyderabad Sultans

" Dilip Tirkey - Orissa Steelers

" Kanwalpreet Singh - Sher-e-Jalandhar

" Viren Rasquinha - Maratha Warriors

" Arjun Halappa - Bangalore Lions

" Adam Sinclair - Chennai Veerans

" Rajpal Singh - Chandigarh Dynamos

"We have continued our policy of empowering the local IHF unit to choose the respective team composition in consultation with IHF. The foreign players will be allotted to each team, in a meeting with the coaches of all seven teams. The foreign players will be allotted in such a manner that all the seven teams achieve that critical balance which will ensure pulsating hockey in PHL," added Gill.

R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd, said, "Since the inception of PHL, we have aimed at making Hockey viewing more friendly for the audiences in India. Last year, with the introduction of the third umpire and mobile mikes to the on field referees, domestic hockey got a taste of international standards. This year, with new innovation of one-on-one, Indian hockey will witness an unprecedented charisma on the field. Our world class production crew, with some of the finest equipment flown in from our Singapore offices, where we have a state of the art production centre, will ensure that PHL telecast is amongst the best in the world."

Elaborating on the new innovation, Venkateish added, "The one-on-one innovation adds to the change factor at the PHL. In case the match ends without a winning goal being scored in either of the two extra time periods then the winner of the match would be decided through a penalty shoot out competition. Each team will have five penalty shoot outs each where 5 players will play a one on one with the goal keeper of the opponent team. Each player will start with the ball on the 25 yard line and when the umpire blows the whistle, the player will have maximum of 8 seconds to score a goal with only the goal keeper defending the goal. The player can take as many shots possible within the stipulated 8 seconds.

The rule offers a much interesting and competing dimension for the players as well as the viewers as unlike a normal penalty shootout, the one-on-one offers equal chances to the attacking and defending players."

Speaking on the occasion, SS Dasgupta, Managing Director, Leisure Sports Management, said, "To ensure an extravaganza again, we are finalizing the Tournament Director for both the venues along with the umpire manager and IHF coordinators who will ensure local association involvement for the tournaments as big as PHL. The setting up of the stadiums and other requirements at the venues will be completed by end of December."

Like previous two years, each game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each, instead of the two halves. The winner, within the stipulated time, will get three points for each victory, while the team winning in the extra time will share the points 2:1.

Their will be two periods of extra time of 7 minutes and 30 seconds each. Like last year the first half of the extra time will be played on a Silver Goal basis. In case, the second half of the extra time is required then like last year, the Golden goal rule will be followed.

Every team will be given 2 x 2 minutes' time outs in regulation time. These time outs will be mandatory and have to be taken once in each half of play. In addition, each team will also be allowed 1 x 2 minute timeout which is not mandatory and can be availed at any point during the regulation time. Each team will also be allowed 1 x 2 minute timeout which is non mandatory and can be availed during the extra time period only.

The league this season has only one division, called the 'Premier Division' The League will follow a round robin format with all teams playing each other twice. The top two teams from the round robin will play in 'Best of Three' finals to decide the winner.

The winner of the third edition will take home Rs. 40 lakhs, while the runners up will carry Rs 15 lakhs. The manner of division of prize money between players and their respective associations shall be specified by IHF.


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