Sahara’s J.B. Roy could head IHF

September 16th, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 16 (IANS) J.B. Roy, the deputy managing director of the Sahara Pariwar and who heads the Bengal Hockey Association, has emerged as the front-runner to become the president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), with K. Krishnamurthy of the Karnataka unit as his secretary general.The combination emerged at a conclave of 31 affiliated units of the IHF at Pune earlier this month on the sidelines of a seminar Roy organised. The Sahara Pariwar has been Indian hockey’s long-time sponsor.

Among those not invited to the seminar, which was a clever camouflage for the conclave, were sacked IHF president K.P.S. Gill and former IHF secretary general K Jothikumaran.

Krishnamurthy, who had attended the Pune conclave, told IANS Tuesday: “In all, 31 affiliated units took part. Among the issues that were informally discussed was the administrative revamp of the IHF. There was a lot of enthusiasm (for this) among the units.”

“I am certainly not chasing the post. Conducting fresh elections is more important so that the IHF will be run by hockey officials and not some ad hoc committee as is the case now,” said Krishnamurthy, who can rightfully take credit for transforming the Karnataka State Hockey Assocation (KSHA) into one of the most efficiently run and most active hockey associations in India with a clubhouse of its own in Bangalore.

Notable absentees at the Pune conclave were affiliated units from Delhi, Himachal Pradesh (of which Gill is the president), Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

The three institutional units - Air India, Services Sports Control Board and Indian Railways - also skipped the meeting due to paucity of time to nominate and their representatives.

The general feeling at the Pune meeting was the need to wrest control of the federation from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which has replaced the IHF with an ad-hoc body to run its affairs until elections were held.

The IOA had suspended the IHF in the wake of a sting operation earlier this year against Jothikumaran, who was caught on camera allegedly accepting money to include a player in the Indian team. Jothikumaran subsequently resigned.

Gill, however, has challenged the IOA decision in the Delhi High Court, which is scheduled to hear the case Dec 4, by which time IOA is required to present its plans to conduct fresh elections to the IHF.

“The IOA should hand over the IHF reigns to a democratically elected body at the earliest rather than have an ad-hoc committee to run the country’s hockey affairs, and the sooner the better. But presently, the matter is before the court and nothing can be done until Dec 4 when the case comes up for hearing,” Krishnamurthy said.

He conceded that the administrative reform or revamp is only a starting point as the IHF would have to address itself to issues such as tournaments, media and marketing, besides structuring the merger of the men’s and women’s federations in conformity with the requirements of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Meanwhile, Gill has has convened a IHF general body meeting in Delhi Wednesday, reportedly to pass the accounts for three years. It is unclear as to how many of the IHF’s 41 affiliated units will attend the Delhi meeting.

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