Stokes, Batra win election; government derecognises Hockey India (Roundup)

August 6th, 2010 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The sports ministry late Thursday
de-recognised Hockey India (HI) hours after Vidya Stokes and Narinder Batra were elected its president and secretary general. The ministry’s action comes even as the result will be officially declared only after the Supreme Court disposes off the cases before it.

The sports ministry, in its letter to HI said: “HI duly accepted the conditions attached to that recognition and also sought the clearance of the government for holding their elections. But their subsequent refusal to abide by the Government guidelines has made them liable for derecognition.”

Commenting on the government move, Batra said: “The government kept on changing its stance. Right from the first day, we have maintained that we are an autonomous body.”

Stokes defeated former India captain and Olympian Pargat Singh, who is the secretary general of Hockey Punjab. The 82-year-old Stokes, who was also the president of the erstwhile Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF), won 41-21.

Stokes contested the election ignoring the government guidelines on age limit for office bearers of National Sports Federations. The guidelines stipulate 70 as the age limit.

Batra, the interim secretary general, was elected defeating Arunachal Pradesh’s Gumjum Haider 44-18. Mushtaque Ahmed was elected the treasurer defeating Haider 45-17.

The HI elections were thrice postponed.

HI moved the Supreme Court after the election was stayed by the high courts of Delhi and Bombay on separate petitions.

The apex court vacated the stay and asked HI to hold the election, but not to implement the outcome until its final verdict is out. A detailed hearing on the case will take place Aug 19.

It was precisely for the same reason that the election result was not made official.

International Hockey Federation (FIH) vice president Antonio Von Ondarza, who was the election observer, said the guidelines should not be imposed but recommended.

Ondarza, however, said FIH itself has put a cap on the tenure of its office bearers and was also going to implement the age restriction soon.

“We did it as part of good governance. These guidelines should not be imposed, it should be recommended. If they (HI) have to change the constitution, they can call an extra-ordinary general meeting and amend the constitution. We want the government on board and I do not think there will be any problem in it.”

Ondarza said he was sure all issues with the sports ministry would be resolved.

“Now we can look forward to our ties with HI and promote the game in the country. Things have moved very fast after the election was stayed last week.”

Batra said they have replied to the show cause notice of the sports ministry.

Asked how controversial Ramesh Nambiar was elected unopposed as one of the four joint secretaries, Batra said Air India nominated him and since he has not been proven guilty he has every right to contest.

Nambiar, Air-India regional manager, was one of the key figures chargesheeted by CBI in the Ordnance Factory Board scam.

Batra also rubbished allegations that affiliations granted to some of the state units were questionable.

Pargat said he will continue his fight against the system.

“It is a fight against the system. I will take the result of the election in true sportsman spirit. It is a democratic setup. I will continue to work to improve the level of hockey in this country,” he said.

Pargat also said that the ruling group doesn’t think about the welfare of the national sport.

“I have no issues but these people don’t think about the welfare of hockey. They only think about their own groups. I challenged it and it’s only the beginning. I wanted to take hockey out of this mess. The game should flourish,” he said.

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