About The British Kabaddi League (BKL)
Kabaddi in its various styles came to the UK in 1964 and has been predominantly played within the Southeast Asian Communities (SEA) ever since. Circle style Kabaddi becoming the most popular outdoor event and the rectangular national style Kabaddi being played in temples and universities.
With the forming of World Kabaddi in 2019 more rigor, regulation and transparency was brought to the game. World Kabaddi’s vision is to expand this most accessible of all sports worldwide and to a global community. World Kabaddi is striving for International Olympic Committee recognition. The five continental regions of World Kabaddi were created, namely Kabaddi Africa, Kabaddi Asia, Kabaddi Europe, Kabaddi Oceania, and Kabaddi Pan America.
The inaugural European Kabaddi Championships were played at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow 2019 where Poland beat the Netherlands. Such was the popularity of the sport even representative teams from the Royal Navy and British Army competed in an exhibition match ahead of the final. From this event the idea of a UK wide inclusive Kabaddi League was realised. The two key personalities were Ashok Das MBE, President, of World Kabaddi and the England Kabaddi Association (EKA), and Prem Sigh of the Scottish Kabaddi Association (SKA).
Two challenges faced BKL: Firstly, how to get this sport out of the SEA communities and universities to the wider public; second, the Covid pandemic which prevented all contact sports. However, with the BBC supporting BKL over the 2022 and 2023 seasons and mitigation put in place to enable the sport to continue in a waning pandemic, these challenges were met by eight (8) community-based teams. Some of the teams include players from the victorious Polish 2019 team who went on to successfully defend their title in the 2021 European championships in Cyprus.
The 2022 season was greatly affected by the pandemic and as such there will only be the 8 men’s teams. However, the BKL franchise is expanding to 12 community-based teams each sporting a women’s and men’s team who will compete with equal billing during an extended 2023 season.
BKL is focused on delivering a community-based sport that develops a grassroots-to-international pathway for boys and girls regardless of physical or mental challenges. BKL is supporting World Kabaddi in developing the sport to enable people with impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions to play this great game. Watch Video.
Kabaddi is a sport that requires no equipment of specialist clothing. It is a sport of individual courage and teamwork, requiring non-verbal communication, focus, breathing efficiency, balance of both body and mind, and split-second decision making. Anyone can play it and it is very quick to learn, it just looks odd at first.
The 2022 BKL season is just the start as each Kabaddi community grows its own Junior and grassroots leagues along with enabling all players to be signposted through World Kabaddi to national representation on the international Kabaddi stage.
Welcome to your Kabaddi, it’s not cricket!