Nivia Sports

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Nivia sports[1]
IndustrySports equipment
FounderNihal Chand Kharbanda
HeadquartersJalandhar, Punjab, India
Area served
Key people
Vijay Kharabanda
(chairman & managing director, 1940–2017)
Rajesh Kharabanda
(managing director)[2]
Number of employees

Nivia Sports is an Indian sports equipment manufacturer based in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, under the banner of FreeWill Sports Pvt Ltd.[4] The firm makes athletic equipment such as footwear, apparel, and accessories for football, cricket, hockey, badminton, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. It has partnered with many national sports events in India.


Early days[edit]

FreeWill Sports Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 1934 in Sialkot by Nihal Chand Kharbanda. In 1962, Vijay Kharbanda joined his father in business and set up Nivia Sports. The 1947 partition of the country saw the company shift its base from Sialkot to Mumbai, and from Mumbai to Meerut, finally settling in Jalandhar. In 1962, Vijay Kharbanda joined as the Chief Managing Director (CMD) of the company with his father and started manufacturing a full range of leather hand stitched balls[5] for soccer, volleyball, handball, and basketball under Nivia Sports.


The name "Nivia" was derived from the combination of the initials of the name of Nihal Chand Kharbanda, founder of Nivia Sports, and Vijay Kharbanda: "NI" from "Nihal" and "VI" from "Vijay".[6]

Vijay Kharbanda provided priority to local people and talents who were less educated and unemployed. He empowered thousands of people by providing them employment along with encouraging them to improve and develop their skills.


The initiatives of Nivia Sports to shape the sports segment of the world are appreciable. Former President of India, Gyani Zail Singh, awarded the Udhyog Pattar to Vijay Kharbanda, the Managing Director of Nivia Sports, in the 1980s for his outstanding contribution to the sports industry.[7]

21st century[edit]

Since 1991, Rajesh Kharbanda has been the Managing Director and CEO of Nivia Sports. As a board member of the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry, he initiated, introduced and engaged Nivia Sports with national and international bodies like FIFA, Basketball Federation of India, All India Football Federation, Volleyball Federation of India, and Handball Federation of India. He is an associate member and office bearer at various trade and business associations including the Sports Goods Foundation of India, and the Sports Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association.[8]

On 18 June 2017, Vijay Kharbanda died. He was 77 years old.[9]

Rajesh Kharbanda as the CMD of Nivia Sports has added extra visions to the industry in terms of production quality, industrial & digital infrastructure, and expansion of factories. He also has provided opportunities to unemployed persons of other states by planning factories there. Nivia footballs are certified as FIFA Pro quality through international standard. And these balls have been the official balls for the national and international tournaments including ISL. During April 2019, Nivia Sports signed up an agreement with the Football Federation of Sri Lank and became the football partner for the national team along with other tournaments of Sri Lanka. For the year 2020 & 2021, Nivia is the official ball sponsor for couples of teams which includes Premier League Division I, Premier League Division II, Men's National Team, Women's National Team, and Under 23 National Team.[10]


Nivia Sports produces sports products in India which have been sponsored and used in national and international tournaments, leagues and championships. It includes the categories of sports equipment, apparel, footwear, and accessories.


Nivia Sports hand-stitched football in 1960s

Nivia Sports is the first Indian sports equipment manufacturer to produce hand stitched balls, including footballs. In the 1950s, under Freewill Sports Pvt Ltd, Nivia Sports started manufacturing hand stitched leather footballs, basketballs, and volleyballs. They had an opportunity to export balls to international markets and exported their first consignment of 30 balls to Indonesia. In the 1960s the Nivia football received the approval of National Institute of Sports, Patiala, Punjab, India. Its football became the official ball for the National Football Championship and for the All India Football Federation (AIFF).[11] In the 1980s, Nivia was selected as the official ball for the International Football Tournament Jawaharlal Nehru Gold Cup and South Asian Federation (SAF) Games. Nivia earned the FIFA certification for the football in the 2000s.[12]


Nivia's Antrix football was the official match ball for the Goa Super Cup 2017

Nivia Antrix football is made from high quality organic and synthetic rubber. The material used for this has been originated from India. Antrix is certified as a 'FIFA Quality PRO' ball by FIFA. This is a hand-stitched football with 32 panels covered by four layers of polyester fabric. The quality and standard of materials and functionality of Antrix is verified by FIFA to include it in the list of FIFA Quality PRO certification. This has been the official match football for Goa Super League 2017. Since the Goa super cup league is known as youth football tournament, this ball is also called as youth football.[13]

Managing director of Nivia Rajesh Kharabanda, and President of Mizoram Football Association Lal Thanzara, have signed an agreement to use Antrix as the Mizoram state football. The Antrix football has also been declared as the official match ball for Mizoram Premier League and other Mizoram football associations' tournaments.[14]


Nivia Ashtang football is the official ball for Hero Super League 2018–19.

Nivia Ashtang football is also certified as a FIFA Quality PRO match ball. This is another hand-stitched football by Nivia which has passed through quality parameters by FIFA. The fitness of the football was tested at a FIFA-designated laboratory in Switzerland to receive certification. This ball is different from others, as it is made with 23% reduced seam length and contains eight panels instead of 32. Due to having less panels, the ball provides ease of shooting and kicking for players.

Ashtang also has been the official match ball for Hero Indian Super League 2018–19. This will be used for ten clubs throughout the session.[15]

Nivia Sports has also produced and sponsored other accessories related to football, such as shoes, team wear, goal keeper gloves, goal nets, training gear, shin guards, ball pumps, and stockings.[16]


Official ball for Pre-Olympic Volleyball Championship in 1963

With extensive research and technology, Nivia Sports brought a change to the sporting age. In 1960, the University of Leipzig in Germany declared the Nivia volleyball as one of the best in the world. In 1963, the Nivia volleyball was selected to be used as the official ball in the Pre-Olympic Volleyball Championship organised in New Delhi, India by a panel of international referees.[17]

Nivia produces high quality Volleyballs which have been sponsored as official balls for many of the tournaments and leagues. These are being a part of top notch volleyballs for sports team, players and professionals.

Nivia G20-20[edit]

Nivia Volleyball G20-20

Nivia G 20-20 Volleyballs are made through 18 panels. These are designed and laminated with A-okay microfiber composite. Hence these balls technically perform well in indoor and outdoor surfaces. G 20-20 balls are always preferred by professionals for its lightweight and sustainability in all kinds of weather. [18]

Nivia has also sponsored volleyball accessories like shoes, team wear, antennae, nets and other sportswear and bags.[19]


Nivia basketball

Nivia makes handmade balls. A basketball starts as a blob of rubber and is squeezed through a machine over and over to flatten it to 0.5–1 mm. Then it is cut and molded into a round shape. This is the bladder that holds air. The bladder is inflated and woven around with nylon thread. This strengthens the balls and helps them stay round. When the mummy-looking balls get their skins they finally start looking like basketballs. Their rough edges are smoothed and lines are drawn by hand, using one careful stroke at a time. Before the balls are ready for the courts, they are checked for air leaks for 24 hours. A sample goes through a shooting test. The ball is shot at a speed of 25 mph at an iron plate of thickness of 1 inch, 2000 times. Then its diameter is measured in several spots to see if the ball has kept its round shape. Finally, after quality checks, the balls are deflated for dispatching to tournaments. Covering the entire process, every three seconds, Nivia makes one ball. CNNMoney showed the making of basketballs in Nivia's factory at Jalandhar (Punjab), India.[20]

Sports footwear[edit]

Nivia started manufacturing sports footwear in the 1980s.

During the 1980s, Nivia Sports started manufacturing sports footwear in India.[21] After being awarded appreciation certificate by the IX Asian Games Organizing Committee for the contribution in the success of the games and for providing support and products, Nivia added all ranges of sports footwear for use in games such as cricket, football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, lawn tennis, kabaddi, wrestling, and track & field. They also produced shoelaces and gel insoles.[22]

Sports shoes for sports are as important as other pieces of equipment to play the game. Since 1980, Nivia manufactures sports shoes for national & international tournaments and leagues. Being an official partner, it has been providing high-quality sports shoes for football, basketball, badminton, tennis, squash, track & field, running, cricket, flip flops, kabbadi, wrestling, and boxing.

Football shoes[edit]

Football Shoes - Nivia Oslar Blade

As per the categories of footballs, Nivia prepares quality shoes to play the game. These are lightweight and flexible with better toe grip. Fitted with Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) sole with a shear strength which provides resistant to splitting, abrasion, oil, and chemicals. Also lasts longer due to highest flexibility. The sole is moisture-wicking, and most widely breathable. The TPU properties of the soles let players to run easily even on hard ground without grass. Shoe insoles are made up of moulded Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) material that makes players more comfort during playing the game on the wet ground as well.

The series of shoes includes identical properties as per their categories. It involves, Aviator, Brasil, Crane, Dominator, Ditmar, Destroyer, England, Encounter, Pro Encounter, Germany, Invader, Oslar, Oslar blade, Premier, Premier Carbonite, Premier Cleats, Spain,  Tough, and Ultra. The size range starts from 1 to 13 and comfortably gets fitted to all players.[23]

Sports accessories[edit]

Nivia Sports produces sports accessories such as kits or bags, tracksuits, shorts, lowers, shocks, and windcheaters for use in cricket, football, basketball, and volleyball. Nivia has sponsored all these products for national and international leagues and tournaments.

Nivia has contributed sports equipment, footwear and accessories including badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, strings, skateboards, skating wheels, squash rackets, and swimming accessories like earplugs, fins, masks, and aqua boards.[24]


Nivia Sports has been the kit sponsor for many sports teams over the year including I-league teams, Mumbai FC and DSK Shivajians.[25]

  • Nivia was an official partner of the 35th National Games Kerala, 2015 for basketball and volleyball.[26]
  • Official partner of SingaCup 2014[27][28]
  • NIVIA was the official ball at almost all the Santosh Trophy matches from the 1970s and was used in SAF Games in Kolkata and major IFA tournaments.[29]
  • NIVIA was the kit manufacturer of Atlético de Kolkata in the 2015 ISL season.
  • Nivia was the apparel partner for Bharat FC.[30]
  • Nivia's Antrix football was the official match ball for the Goa Super Cup (GSC) tournament held in Goa in May, 2017.[31]
  • Nivia is the official kit sponsor for Indian Super League season 2018–19.
  • Nivia is the official kit provider for the Mizoram state football association from 2018.[32]
  • Nivia Sports is the international official kit sponsor for Colombo FC from the year 2019.[citation needed]
  • Nivia Ashtang football is the official match ball Hero Intercontinental cup 2019[33]
  • Nivia Ashtang football is the official match ball Sri Lanka Champion League 2019
  • Nivia Sports is the official ball and kit partners Maharashtra state basketball 2019[34]
  • Nivia is official ball and kit partners for Gujarat state football 2019
  • Nivia Sports is the official Footwear partner All India Football Federation 2019
  • Nivia Antrix has been the official Ball Reliance Foundation Youth Sports 2019
  • Nivia is the official Kit Partner for Trau FC -  I League 2019
  • Nivia is the official Kit Partner of Chennai city FC – I league 2019
  • Nivia has been the official Kit partner Jamshedpur FC 2019[35]
  • Nivia has been the official kitting partner ATK FC 2019[36]
  • Nivia is the official Kitting partner Churchill Brothers FC – I  league 2019
  • Nivia has been the official Equipment and Apparel Partner – Vedanta Football Projects (SESA, Zinc, ASL Cup and Goa Vedanta Cup) 2019
  • Nivia Ashtang is the official Match Ball Durand Cup Kolkata 2019
  • Nivia Ashtang has been the official Match Ball India Vs Oman (World Cup Qualifier) Guwahati 2019
  • Nivia Ashtang has been the official Match Ball India Vs Bangladesh (World Cup Qualifier) Kolkata 2019
  • Nivia Sports is the official sportswear partner for Thane City FC for session 2020 - 2021 and 2021 - 2022 [37]

Association football[edit]

Nivia has been supplying official kits for national and international football clubs, tournaments & leagues. Also it has been qualified for official partner for leagues to provide other sports equipment as well.

International teams[edit]


National teams[edit]




Former sponsorships[edit]


  1. ^ "Nivia Sports, FreeWill Sports Pvt Ltd".
  2. ^ "Key People of Nivia Sports".
  3. ^ "Nivia Sports No of Employees". Nivia Sports.
  4. ^ "About Nivia Sports".
  5. ^ "Hand Stitched Nivia Balls".
  6. ^ Bhardwaj, Aakanksha N (20 June 2017). "Man who blazed a trail, gave sports industry a firm foothold". The Tribune. India. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Gyani Zial Singh awarded Vijay Kharbanda".
  8. ^ "Rajesh Kharbanda Nivia Sports".
  9. ^ Aakanksha N Bhardwaj (19 June 2017). "Man who blazed a trail, gave sports industry a firm foothold". Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ "ISL ball partnersn Nivia signs with Sri Lanka football/". 10 April 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Nivia Production History".
  12. ^ "FIFA Certified".
  13. ^ "Youth football: Goa Super Cup Announces Nivia Antrix as official match-ball".
  14. ^ "Mizoram FA to partner with Nivia".
  15. ^ "fifa pro certified nivia Ashtang is the official football for hero Indian super league".
  16. ^ "Football Accessories".
  17. ^ "History".
  18. ^ "Volleyballs for professionals".
  19. ^ "Volleyball Accessories".
  20. ^ "In the making of Nivia's Basketball".
  21. ^ "Started Manufacturing Footwear 1980".
  22. ^ "Footwear for Games".
  23. ^ "Football Shoes".
  24. ^ "Nivia Accessories".
  25. ^ "Club's Official Partner".
  26. ^ "Sports Partner of 35th National Games Kerala, 2015". Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  27. ^ "Sports Partner of SingaCup 2014". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  28. ^ "Sports Partner SingaCup 2013, 2014,".
  29. ^ "Messi & Co to play with country (India) made NIVIA balls". Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  30. ^ "Nivia was the Apparel partner for Bharat FC". Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  31. ^ "Youth football: Goa Super Cup announces Nivia Antrix as official match ball". 6 May 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  32. ^ "Mizoram FA to partner with sports kit maker Nivia". 26 May 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  33. ^ "India begin Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 campaign in July". 13 May 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Indian Super League: Nivia signs 3-year, multi-crore deal to become official ball partner". 18 May 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  35. ^ "here's a first look at all of this year's ISL jersey". 14 November 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  36. ^ "here's a first look at all of this year's ISL jersey". 4 November 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  37. ^ "Thane City FC partners with Nivia Sports in a two years deal". 19 March 2020.

External links[edit]