Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 to begin on October 7

Dabang Delhi KC celebrate their maiden Pro Kabaddi League title. PKL

The ninth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 9) will begin on October 7, league organisers Mashal Sports announced on Friday. The season will be played until mid-December.

The PKL 9 league stage will be held in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad. This is a change from last year's format where the entire tournament was played in a bio-bubble in Bengaluru. Prior to the pandemic, the tournament used to operate on a caravan format where the league would travel to the home cities of each of the 12 teams.

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The organisers also stated that PKL 9 will have fans in the stadiums and that there is no bio-bubble this time around.

Speaking on the announcement, Anupam Goswami, Head - Sports Leagues, Mashal Sports and League Commissioner, vivo Pro Kabaddi League said, "Mashal Sports started the journey of vivo Pro Kabaddi League with a vision of taking the indigenous sport of kabaddi to the world of contemporary and upcoming generations of sports fans. We continue to achieve impressive success in this goal, as was proven earlier this year by vivo PKL Season 8 which was conducted in a comprehensive bio-bubble. Now, we are even more enthusiastic about the upcoming vivo PKL Season 9 as our fans will be back in stadiums across Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad to experience the pulsating action up-close of their favourite teams and stars."

The announcement comes 20 days after the PKL 9 player auctions were held in Mumbai. It was the biggest auction in PKL history as Pawan Kumar Sehrawat became the League's most-expensive player of all time when the Tamil Thalaivas signed him on for a whopping Rs 2.26 crore.

Among the other top signings were former Haryana Steelers raider Vikash Kandola, who replaced Pawan at Bengaluru Bulls for Rs 1.70 crore, while Fazel Atrachali retained his tag as the PKL's most-expensive foreign player with Puneri Paltan bidding Rs 1.38 crore to acquire the Iranian defender.

Dabang Delhi KC, led by their charismatic raider Naveen Kumar, are the defending champions.