Golden Eagles Uttar Pradesh and Garvit Gujarat have become the second and third franchises to join the inaugural edition, the league announced on Wednesday.
With less than two months until the season opener of the inaugural Premier Handball League (PHL), sanctioned by the South Asian Handball Federation and affiliated with the Asian Handball Federation (AHF), three teams have been announced now with Maharashtra Ironmen being the first one.
The team from Uttar Pradesh will be owned by the Pavna Group of Industries from Aligarh, headed by Mr. Swapnil Jain, who serves as the Managing Director of the entity.
Mr. Jain has a keen interest in the fields of education, sports, industry, and social work and has been actively working towards contributing to society in various manners. Before Golden Eagles, Mr. Jain’s prominent investment in sports came in the form of Ascus Cricket, which manufactures cricket bats and associated accessories.
Speaking about his decision to be a part of the Premier Handball League, Mr. Swapnil Jain, Managing Director, Pavna Group of Industries, said, "Handball is a popular sport, and most schools in India have included it as a part of their sports curriculum. But with time, its popularity has faded. We intend to ensure handball regains its glory, and by joining hands with PHL, we hope to achieve this goal. We, as a company, have been invested in sports equipment manufacturing for a long time, and we wish to make a difference in the lives of the youth by bringing them closer to the game."
On the other hand, Garvit Gujarat is a first-time investment in sports by Garvit Sports Private Limited (GSPL) headed by former India international Mr. Roop Kumar Naidu, who serves as the Founder and Director of the organization.
Mr. Naidu’s association with handball dates back to the year 1979, and he was also a part of the first Indian Handball Team to make its debut in an international competition in the same year. During his career between 1979 and 1987, Mr. Naidu also went on to represent India at the 1982 Asian Games held in New Delhi.
Post his retirement from professional sports, Mr. Naidu has continued contributing to the Indian sporting ecosystem in various capacities. He has been a part of the Selection Committee for Handball as an SAI/Govt Observer from 1990–97 and has also served as a sports administrator for over three decades at SAI, New Delhi.
Speaking about his association with the Premier Handball League, Mr. Roop Kumar Naidu, Founder, and Director of GSPL, said, "I have been a part of the handball ecosystem of India since the beginning. Handball has been waiting for its moment in the sun for a long time, and the Premier Handball League is that opportunity. Having played the sport at the highest level, it is my opportunity to give back to the sport and help it find its needed recognition."
He also added, "Gujarat was an automatic choice for me when it came to picking teams. I was the Director of SAI, Western Region, Gandhinagar (Gujarat) from 2013 to 2017. During my tenure, handball had consistently become one of the medal winners for the state of Gujarat at the national level. Taking over the Gujarat franchise of the Premier Handball League gives me another opportunity to contribute something positive to the handball ecosystem of Gujarat and entertain handball lovers from Gujarat."
"We would want to welcome Mr. Roop Kumar Naidu and Mr. Swapnil Jain to the Premier Handball League family. While building a league, each block must fall into place, and to begin with, all stakeholders must have an aligned vision. I am glad that Mr. Naidu and Mr. Jain strongly believe that the moment is right for handball in India, and PHL is going to pave the way for bringing handball to the forefront of Indian sports. I would like to wish both teams the best as we inch closer to the business end of the tournament," said Manu Agrawal, Founder, and CEO of Bluesport Entertainment Private Limited.
The inaugural season of the Premier Handball League is set to kick off on June 8 and run until June 25, 2023, which will be broadcast on the Viacom18 network on JioCinema, Sports 18-1 (HD & SD), and Sports 18 Khel.