International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Leandro Negre on Friday reiterated FIH’s stand that a democratically-elected body should take control of Hockey India (HI) before the World Cup was held here in February next year.

Talking of the postponement of the HI elections, Mr. Negre chose to look at the brighter side of the issue. “The elections are very close to the World Cup. But we are taking positives only and maintain that as per our constitution, an elected body should be in place before the World Cup,” Mr. Negre told mediapersons here.

“I have a lot of faith in Sports Minister Mr. M.S. Gill. He has given me assurance that the job will be done.”

While acknowledging that there were some hurdles in conducting the HI elections, Mr. Negre expressed confidence that the new deadline of January end would be met.

“At the moment, there are some concerns. India is a big country with so many states and such problems happen, but we are sure elections will be held in time,” he said.

The FIH President said, “a strong and democratic HI is the key for the progress of the game in India.”

Mr. Negre was in no mood to buy the theory that India’s chances of participating in the World Cup might suffer in case HI elections were not held before the mega event. “Just forget that (possibility),” was his reply.

The FIH chief signed a memorandum of understanding with the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) to rope in the public sector company as the presenting partner for the upcoming World Cup. Apart from title sponsor Hero Honda, SAIL is the other major sponsor for the event.

Mr. Negre was hopeful that India would host the ‘best ever World Cup.’

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Steel Virbhadra Singh urged the corporate houses to support the national game in a big way.

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