FIH rejects HI-IHF unification (Lead)

July 29th, 2011 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Frowning upon the “compromise settlement” reached between warring Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) without its knowledge, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said it is withdrawing all international tournaments allotted to the country until the matter is resolved.

The FIH said it wants the issue to be sorted out as quickly as possible so that hockey is not affected in India.

Delhi was scheduled to host the Champions Trophy in December and Olympic qualifiers for men and women in February next year.

An HI official said it is for the sports ministry to sort out the matter and it can be done only after sports minister Ajay Maken returns from abroad.

“We have received an official communication from the FIH. They have made it very clear that they will recognise only federation. We have to wait and see how the issue can be resolved,” said Rajeev Mehta, associate vice president of HI.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra is also out of the country.

The FIH said the agreement HI and the IHF entered into earlier this week is not in compliance with the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes.

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.”

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

“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,” the FIH said in a statement.

The 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.

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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