FIH set to crack the whip

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) considers the Sports Ministry-aided agreement between the factions of hockey administration as repugnant to its statutes. The reaction is unambiguous.

The tone and tenor of the statement repudiates every clause in the ‘working relationship' between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation.

The threat of cancelling the sanctioned competitions reflects FIH's despair. India's endemic troubles since 2006 have systematically destroyed the country's hockey ethos. The FIH cannot completely be exonerated for it.

Realising it is on quicksand, the FIH is now attempting to wriggle out. Understandably, it counts on the support of the Indian Olympic Association, which has already rubbished the terms and conditions of the agreement. The IOC is sure to endorse the exercise as government interference.

The green signal to two units to maintain their identity and govern a single discipline beats logic. It is unworkable.

Within a few days, a friction arose over the action against the five players who took time off to figure in the launch of the World Series of Hockey (WSH).

The issue hangs in the balance. A better understanding would have spared the players of needless negative publicity.

FIH's ire

Hockey India faces the FIH's ire for succumbing to pressure from the ministry. No one will buy the theory that HI is unaware of the FIH statutes, or the anticipated reaction by the international federation.

Probably, the FIH assumes that HI is neither serious nor capable of hosting high profile competitions. With Suresh Kalmadi, who played a crucial role in organising the World Cup, fighting his own battles, the FIH is obviously finding it hard to discover a matching personality to garner corporate support.

The Champions Trophy in Delhi is barely five months away. The HI is yet to identify the title sponsor or seen making an efforts in that direction. No one is sure of what preliminary work has been completed thus far.

The FIH's calculation of devouring a huge market over the next four years looks doomed because of the current impasse. When and how it will get resolved is the million dollar question.

Disqualification threat

What is certain is that the FIH will henceforth start tightening the screws until the settlement effected conforms to it statutes. It will keep dangling the threat of withdrawing tournaments; even take the extreme step of disqualifying India from competitions.

An influential member is reported to have suggested that suspension from the FIH roll will trigger a quicker solution than taking circuitous routes.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the Sports Minister the games indulged in by the groups have snowballed into a grave crisis.

The day is not far off when the FIH will start flashing the disaffiliation card. It seems convinced that the guaranteed market is slipping out.

The last paragraph of the statement warns, “the FIH greatly regrets this decision (to stop negotiations with HI) but feels it is left with no alternative under the circumstances.

It hopes that a resolution that complies with the Olympic Charter and the FIH statutes can be found quickly.”

This observation cannot be trifled with. India out of the FIH ambit is unthinkable.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:06:37 PM |

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