FIH frowns at HI-IHF unification, pulls tournaments out of India

July 29th, 2011 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) In a major blow to Indian hockey, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has withdrawn all international tournaments allotted to the country, frowning upon the “unification” of the warring Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation without its consultation.

The “compromise settlement” reached between HI and the IHF earlier this week is not in compliance with the Olympic Charter and FIH statutes, the FIH said, announcing withdrawakl of all international tournaments from India, including the Olympic Qualifiers and Champions Trophy.

“The FIH has expressed its grave concern to the Indian sports minister about the ’settlement’ recently announced between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), without prior consultation with the FIH,” FIH said in a statement.

HI and IHF reached an “administrative arrangement” July 25 to form a joint working committee and executive board as a prelude to their unification.

FIH said the agreement was not acceptable to it.

“This compromise fails to resolve the fundamental underlying issues that have blighted Indian hockey for so long,” the FIH said.

“In addition, it does not comply with the FIH Statutes, which do not permit a member to transfer or share its powers to another body that is not a member of or bound by the FIH Statutes, still less to share its powers with a body (the IHF) that is involved in organising an unsanctioned event (World Series Hockey), participation in which is prohibited under the FIH Statutes.”

“The FIH executive board is obliged to uphold the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes,” the FIH stressed.

FIH president Leandro Negre has written to the sports minister, calling for an urgent meeting, involving the presidents of HI and the Indian Olympic Association, to discuss the FIH’s concerns and the ramifications of the current proposal for India’s role in world hockey.

“In the meantime, the FIH executive board has decided that it is neither possible nor appropriate to continue with the discussions with HI to host tournaments in India over the next four-year cycle, particularly the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy (December 2011), and the FIH Men’s & Women’s Olympic qualifying tournaments (February 2012). The FIH greatly regrets this decision but feels that it is left with no alternative in the circumstances.”

The FIH said it is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes (and indeed of the Indian government’s own guidelines and the draft sports bill) that there can only be one governing body for a sport in each country with “exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organise national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions.”

The FIH recognises HI as the governing body for hockey in India, responsible as a member of the FIH for running Indian hockey in accordance with the objects of and subject to the rules and regulations set out in the FIH Statutes.

The FIH does not recognise the IHF and has not done so since 2000.

“The FIH had understood that position was also accepted by the Indian sports minister, and that the intent of the brokered discussions was to resolve the IHF’s conflicting claim to recognition by bringing the IHF officials into the HI fold.”

“The FIH is, therefore, surprised and disappointed to learn that the proposal now is simply, as a temporary fix, to transfer governance authority in India from HI to a new ‘joint executive committee’ controlled jointly by HI and the IHF and ‘co-chaired’ by the HI and IHF presidents.”

“The FIH has always been and remains committed to the success of hockey in India. It hopes that a resolution that complies with the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes can be found quickly,” the statement said.

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