Hockey

Who will take the initiative to end this charade?

Hockey India is in a real fix. The International Hockey Federation is reluctant to do business with it. This is after HI had entered into a ‘working arrangement' with the Indian Hockey Federation. The Sports Ministry orchestrated it stanza by stanza.

Constituted in 2008 under the patronage of the Indian Olympic Association as an entity transgressing every norm of constitutional propriety HI today is orphaned. Even the IOA refuses to countenance Hockey India's embrace with IHF.

The current impasse is unenviable. The hockey community is dumbfounded. The FIH is likely (if not already) to withdraw the offers of awarding important competitions to India. This includes the Champions Trophy in December and the Olympic qualifier in March.

Such drastic measures will put the FIH also in some stress. Time is too short to find another host for the Champions Trophy. Malaysia is ready for the Olympic qualifier. India will be missing a great opportunity if the CT is taken out.

In one stroke, Hockey India squandered the support of IOA and FIH. It obtained the approval from them in astonishingly quick time, taking advantage of the impending World Cup in Delhi.

It is difficult to comprehend the avenues open for HI to regain FIH's confidence and the succour from IOA. Both are essential for its survival.

Next step

Interestingly, the FIH is yet to take the next step, apart from expressing its displeasure and disagreement over the developments here. It is obvious the ‘talks' between HI and IHF did not end the way the FIH had envisaged. This is clear in its statement.

The FIH was unprepared to be confronted with a ‘solution' permitting two federations agreeing to function without treading on each other's corns. It might have flattered the negotiators but did not amuse the FIH one bit.

Apart from rejecting the formula agreed (or imposed?) by the factions, the headless IOA is unable to suggest a viable remedy. Will it be dynamic enough to form another ad hoc committee to take charge, keeping out officials from both factions? Will the FIH and Sports Ministry like to be involved in such an exercise?

Whatever be the trajectory you look in, the issues slip back to square one. When, how and in what manner will the crisis be laid to rest is rankling a genuine enthusiast. The pall of gloom is real.

Valuable time lost

A lot of valuable time has been frittered away in unworthy and unwanted debates. They lacked the spirit of understanding and cooperation. The virtues of give-and-take seem to have been buried fathoms deep. Visible efforts were made to score points and run down the other.

The unfortunate part of it all is that officials in both factions were part of the same unit that controlled men's hockey for a decade and more.

The message is clear. The FIH is ready to enforce its authority. It is for India to craft a well-nuanced response and embark on a damage control exercise. This is the need of the hour.

Who will take the initiative?

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 3:43:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/who-will-take-the-initiative-to-end-this-charade/article2319802.ece

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