Sports Minister M.S. Gill today hosted the International Hockey Federation (FIH) vice president Antonio von Ondarza and had a discussion with Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi to untangle the knot Hockey India (HI) finds itself in.
HI plunged into a crisis with its November 18 election being postponed, defying an FIH order, and Gill said the federation would have to clear its mess before going for the poll.
“The Ministry kept on asking them (HI) for election but I came to know that it has been postponed,” Gill said.
“I met the FIH vice president today and he is meeting Kalmadi also. I spoke to Kalmadi as well this morning and discussed a number of issues, including hockey.
“We want an early election but it has to be crystal clear, clean and acceptable to the country as fair. That is why apart from the FIH observer, we have appointed S K Mendiratta, an expert Election Commission official, as the government observer for the election,” the minister added.
Now that HI is set to miss the deadline, Gill felt the only way out is to get an extension on the same from the FIH.
“My view is that Mr Kalmadi must be discussing the issue with the FIH official and if they get a short extension from the FIH in order to complete the process, we will go along with that and support it.
Both I and the FIH vice president are of the view that the process must be complete well before next year’s World Cup and we will assist in every way to see that it is done.
“Mr Kalmadi has assured me that he would personally look after it so that the thing gets done,” Gill said.
“When (FIH) President Leandro Negre came here last year, we had a detailed discussion. He had two requests - they wanted a single Hockey India that has become the pattern of the world and second, while an ad-hoc committee may be appointed by IOA, for a short while but a proper, clean election must be held as early as possible before the 2010 World Cup.
“I agreed to both the ideas and our position remains the same,” Gill said.
Earlier in a November 10 letter to HI President AK Mattoo, the ministry sought details about the federation’s election plans and asked why some of the major hockey states like Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand were not granted recognition.
The Ministry inquired about the process followed in the formation of the state units and the fate of the previous state associations.