SPORT

Strong protest by mediapersons

Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) was red-faced on Wednesday following a strong protest by angry mediapersons who opposed the ban on them to cover the build-up to the hockey World Cup starting on February 28.

The media was banned from covering the teams' practice sessions and matches in preparation for the World Cup and was prevented from entering the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, the venue for the event, ostensibly on security grounds.

At a function organised to announce the partnership of Karbonn Mobiles with the World Cup, mediapersons were vociferous in their protest when FIH Communication Manager Arjen Meijer came on to the stage to speak.

Boycott

The scribes boycotted the FIH representative's address and staged a walkout shouting “we are not criminals.”

Later, Mr. Meijer said the FIH was not responsible for banning the media. “It is not FIH. We are on your side. I am very sorry about that. I am a journalist myself and I know you have to do your work,” he said. Mr. Meijer said he would try to help the mediapersons. “Let us not look into the past. I cannot change whatever has happened. But I will ensure that everything will be properly managed from now,” he said, assuring that all media accreditations would be handed over by Thursday.

Sangeeta Kuriakos of Clea PR, the agency handling the media accreditation, said the security and accreditation was being handled by the Delhi Police. The FIH in a statement issued on Tuesday had said, FIH Tournament Director, Ken Read had determined that media access to training was not possible until February 27 when accreditation cards were to be made available.

In less than six hours, the World Cup Co-ordination Committee, consisting of Mr. Read, said in a statement that accreditations would be completed by February 24. No member of the media, however, received the accreditation card on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Karbonn Mobiles, Sudhir Hasija, announced that if India reached the final of the World Cup, his company would give Rs 2.5 lakh each to the players and coaching staff of the team.

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