Row casts doubt over Indian hockey participation at CWG

NEW DELHI — India’s sports ministry and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have backed rival groups to run the game, casting doubt over the host country’s participation at the Commonwealth Games in October and other international events.

By (Reuters)

Published: Tue 10 Aug 2010, 11:55 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:20 AM

Two days after the FIH announced it had asked Hockey India (HI) to field a team for the women’s World Cup in Argentina later this month, the ministry said on Monday HI could no longer represent this country.

“HI has lost its national character and therefore cannot be allowed to select or field the national team any more,” the ministry said in a letter to FIH president Leandro Negre.

Instead, the ministry said, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) should be accepted as the new body to run the game. Granting the status of a national sports federation is “within the domain of the country concerned” and the FIH should not get directly involved, the ministry said.

The FIH, however, has refused to back down.

“At the outset we reiterate that we have already recognised Hockey India as a recognised body for the management, control and promotion for hockey in India, duly recognised by the IOA (Indian Olympic Association), based on the Olympic Movement/Charter and FIH statutes,” Negre wrote in a letter to the ministry on Saturday.

Rejecting an earlier ministry request to recognise IHF, Negre said: “In the circumstances and in the best interest of hockey in India, we would like to inform you that Hockey India is the only body that has been recognised by FIH...”

“Please note that the women’s World Cup is round the corner and we have requested Hockey India to send the team so that India is represented.”

Indian hockey, is now a far cry from a glorious past that included eight Olympic men’s gold medals.

It has suffered turbulent times this year that began with a players’ strike over wages on the eve of the World Cup and another crisis last month when women’s hockey team coach MK Kaushik resigned over sexual harassment charges.

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