‘Unfair to blame Gill alone for hockey setback’

March 14th, 2008 - 10:38 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) Beleaguered Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill, who is facing the wrath of MPs and fans after India’s failure to qualify for the Olympics, Friday received support from his badminton counterpart V K Verma. Badminton Association of India (BAI) president Verma sprang to Gill’s support here Friday, saying it is unfair to pick on the federation alone for the setback. “It is not proper to blame one person for the performance of the team when there were other stakeholders too are involved.”

“The federation alone should not be blamed for the team’s loss when multiple agencies are involved in raising and preparing the side, and it is a collective responsibility,” said Verma

“Every team goes through ups and downs. But that does not mean the federation is not doing enough. The government and Sports Authority of India are also equally responsible as they very much involved with the training of the teams,” Verma said at the launch function of the 2008 Indian Open to be held in Hyderabad from April 1 to 6.

Former players and MPs are demanding the resignation of Gill, saying he has accomplished little as IHF president for 14 long years.

Hockey has fetched India eight gold medals in Olympics, but for the past few years the game is hogging the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Former international Aslam Sher Khan has launched a signature campaign by MPs, urging the government to intervene and oust Gill to save hockey.

Verma, who has himself been at loggerheads with country’s top shuttlers last year, however, said pinning down blame on one person would not serve the purpose and everyone — government, federations, corporates, players and media — have to work together to get the desired results.

” BAI spent Rs.70 million on the game last year, of which only Rs. 15 million came from the government. How can we work like this,” he said.

Asked why can’t the government hold the federation responsible when it was doling out money to them, Verma said autonomy of the national sports federations is a part of the Olympic charter and that cannot be compromised.

“Sports federations are deemed to be autonomous bodies and there can be no government interference in their functioning. That would be against the Olympic charter. If a national sports federation is not doing its job, the international body can take the action. They can even disaffiliate the federation in the extreme case,” he said.

Verma came in for flak from country’s top badminton players when he stopped their entries for major international tournaments and instead asked them to join national camps.

It was only after the intervention of the sports ministry that the row between players and BAI could be sorted out.

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