Concerns raised over plan to serve liquor to VIPs during Hockey World Cup

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Sports department’s plan to serve liquor in the VIP Lounge of Kalinga Stadium during the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Cup has raised many eyebrows.

Although liquor will be served only to the foreign delegates and officials of International Hockey Federation (FIH) and members of other associations, many have raised questions over the misuse of permission by others.

Secretary of the Odisha Sports department, Vishal Dev had written a letter to the Commissioner of Excise on May 31 to issue liquor license for the purpose.

“Liquor/Beer will be served in the VIP Lounge for the officials/delegates of International Hockey Federation (FIH) and other hockey federations of the participating nations at Kalinga Stadium. It is requested that Liquor license may be issued in favour of Department of Sports and Youth Services from November 27 till December 16 over the premises at the Kalinga Stadium,” the letter stated.

The big question here is will others take an undue advantage of this permission? If anyone tries to consume alcohol other than the mentioned guests, then who will be responsible for stopping such misuse?

However many international players have commented on this issue saying that this is not a big deal as serving liquor during major international competitions and even Olympics is a common phenomena. The organising committee has to provide all facilities required for foreign guests during the tournament.

Speaking to OTV, former international hockey player Lazarus Barla said, “This is a practice which has been continuing since a long time. Wherever we have played in big tournaments we have seen such arrangements for the entertainment of officials and delegates of various associations. As we are going to host a World Cup and I think it’s our duty welcome them properly.”

I think it’s a requirement for the delegates in any global event like Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games etc. Even the support staffs of various teams need liquor and we should not keep any loopholes in our arrangements. There is not going to be any negative impact of serving liquor rather the foreign guests will be satisfied with this arrangement.

— Anuradha Biswal, Athlete

Men’s Hockey World Cup 2018, the biggest hockey tournament involving 16 top teams will begin from November 28 till December 16 at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.