S. Thyagarajan

Chennai: The reaction of the hockey community to the move by IOA for the launch of an administrative unit under the banner of Hockey India has been predictably hostile.

While there is a common perception that the IOA is pushing through a major change without adequate debate and not reading the signals from the constituents comprising IHF and IWHF, the attempt has triggered hectic activity — for and against — across the country.

In a significant development on Friday, J.B. Roy, President, Bengal Hockey Association, met K.P.S. Gill in New Delhi on the Hockey India issue. Sources confirm that both agreed to sink whatever differences they might have and put up a joint front to stall IOA from taking over the reins of Indian hockey.

It may be recalled that Roy assembled as many as 28 units in two different meetings — Pune and New Delhi — to press the IOA for holding an early General Body Meeting to resolve the crisis and install a federation that has a majority support.

A joint press conference has been planned for June 8 in which both Gill and Roy are expected to detail the course of action. A meeting of all the constituents (both men and women) will then be held on June 13 and 14.

This conclave is to serve as a common platform for both the men’s and women’s federations. All the issues concerning Indian hockey will be discussed at this forum and this meeting will form Hockey India, reflecting the hopes and aspirations of the huge hockey community and in conformity with the statutes of the International Hockey Federation constitution.

Fall in line

Meanwhile, several officials have been called to fall in line by sources close to the IOA. Quite a few were in receipt of requests to be present in New Delhi on June 9 and 10 to decide the course of action against the proposal.

A classic case of contradiction comes in the women’s wing, where the Secretary has invited the members of the units to come to Delhi with the President instructing them not to participate.

Indications are clear that the matter may be taken to court by Monday. The response to the formation from the Sports Ministry and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is awaited. Significantly, the official website is silent over the development in this regard.

Kept in the dark

It was also made known by senior functionaries in the Asian Hockey Federation that the continental body has been kept in the dark for a long time about the special project, the decision to award the World Cup to India, and also FIH’s moves to disaffiliate the IHF in favour of the formation of an ad hoc committee.

The AHF is keenly watching the developments and may react in the next few days. It must be stressed that in the new dispensation under Leandro Negre, the continental federations enjoy a special status in the FIH and have a say in the decision-making process.

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