The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is considering launching a franchised-based league offering big prize money which will attract Olympic and World Champions from all over the world.

At a recent meeting of the AFI executive committee the possibility of starting such a cash-rich competition was discussed. It will be called the Indian Athletics League (IAL) and a sports management firm will present a blueprint.

The finer details are yet to be finalized but the proposed IAL competition will be franchised out on the same lines as the Indian Premier League and the Indian Badminton League.It will also be similar to the 14-leg Diamond League series which is organized annually by the world governing body IAAF.

A spokesman for the AFI told PTI that the budget for the proposed new league would be around US$16 million and some of the best International athletic stars in the world would be invited to take part.

The likes of two-time Olympic Games sprint double champion Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Olympic and World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Warren Weir Track are just some of the stars who could be invited to compete in the league. The AFI also hopes to attract athletes like Jehue Gordon from Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamians Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller, Grenadian Kirani James and top American stars like London 2012 silver medallist Galen Rupp and former Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan.

The spokesman said, "It's early stages now. We have discussed the feasibility of the league in the executive committee meeting as we want to raise the profile of athletics in the country. We decided if the necessary funds and sponsors are forthcoming then we can hold the league in August.

"If our plans materialize and corporates are willing to come forward it will be a big ticket event which will be as big as any leagues around the country and outside."


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