Hockey: India Out of Champions Trophy

Hockey in action

By Ramu Sharma

New Delhi (Syndicate Features): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed its earlier decision to pull out the Champions Trophy from India.   The confirmation is a move to force India to set its house in order on the administrative front.

The FIH has not been happy with the Sports Ministry’s move to ask Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation to merge. The FIH does not recognize IHF and wants to deal only with Hockey India- a body which came into existence after the IOA disbanded the IHF but failed to get the legal follow up from the courts. This has left India with two hockey bodies, one recognized by the IOA and the FIH, and the other by Ministry of Sports.

The FIH has not given any other reason but perhaps there is the financial clause connected with the World Cup held in Delhi last year. India owes some money to FIH, money which has been blocked at the RBI level and which should have been paid by now. That money will certainly be paid and the FIH knows that. Why then precipitate matters?

There is a thought process in vogue that the FIH is trying to ‘blackmailing’ Indian hockey to follow its dictates and do away with the administrative confusion immediately. That somehow appears to be difficult. The Government will not accept any interference from the International body. And why should it?

The FIH president Leandro Negre is expected to arrive in India very soon for talks with the Ministry. If that is so, why did not the FIH wait till Negre finished his talks before announcing the withdrawal of the Champions Trophy? And, here too, there is some confusion. The withdrawal has been announced without any alternate venue proposed. That is not the way international schedules are structured. The FIH also knows the damage that will be done to Indian hockey by this withdrawal.

There is something fishy in this move.

The FIH needs India and its money to survive and yet continues to dictate terms. This move to shift Champions Trophy from India will harm the cause of the game in India.

On the other hand the FIH is committed to improve the standard of Indian hockey. The two ideas don’t somehow meet.

What then is the reason for this madness? (Syndicate Features)

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