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Olympians question motive of FIH, write letter to Govt

Mumbai: Six Olympians have accused the International Hockey Federation of taking away all the profits generated at the World Cup in Delhi and written a letter to the government to stop the world body from repeating the act during the Champions Trophy allotted to India this year.

In a letter to Sindhusree Khullar, Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the former players have charged that by continuing to support Hockey India and controlling the affiliation, FIH has shown disrespect to the Indian Government which has recognised only the age-old Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

V Bhaskaran, V J Philips, Gurbax Singh Grewal, Balbir Singh Grewal, Surinder Singh Sodhi and Aloysius Edwards have also accused Hockey India, which they said was a creation of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as an ad-hoc body, of preventing units affiliated to the IHF from fielding teams in the National Games in Jharkhand that began yesterday.

"The Sports Ministry (MYAS) has, in its correspondence with the FIH in August 2010, had clearly intimated/informed that IHF was the sole body recognised by the Government as the national sports federation," the Olympians wrote.

"The Government has also informed the FIH that Hockey India, a private body as stated by themselves in court and publicly and which was sponsored/supported and recognised by the IOA, was de-recognised following its non-compliance and inability to fulfil the norms set by the Government to be able to qualify as a national sports federation."

"Despite the clear stand taken by the Government, FIH has been openly defiant and has disregarded/failed to accept the facts presented by them (Government)," they said.

"This has emboldened the IOA and its creation Hockey India to resort to further malpractices by not allowing the IHF-controlled state bodies who have been running hockey in various states/units, to participate in the National Games."

"Hockey India itself was formed as an ad-hoc body and so were the state units who were doled out affiliations despite being in existence only on paper with no developmental and organisational activities in their so called areas of jurisdiction," the Olympians said.

"With Indian Hockey in deep turmoil for the past three years, the FIH took the opportunity to conduct the World Cup on its own with the help of IOA and the Government. For the purpose, the FIH formed a body called FIH Hero Honda Society, and surprisingly, all the profits generated from the staging of the event have been taken out of the country," they said.

"The FIH used all the facilities like stadia owned by the Government, security, infrastructure and other machinery and manpower to its advantage but surprisingly never allotted/ assigned any portion of the profit for development of hockey in India, a subject on which so much concern had been raised and continues to be raised by the FIH.

"The world body knows the potential of our country to generate funds in comparison to other hockey playing nations and has been trying to milk the system in India to their benefit by voicing grave concern about the present state.

"However, the World Cup is an example of their so called concern of siphoning the profits and enriching their own coffers," the former internationals felt.

"The FIH`s stance ? writing back to the Government not to interfere in the affiliation process controlled by them and its continued support to Hockey India – continues to baffle us, posing several question and also leading to doubts about their real intentions vis-?-vis Indian Hockey.

"In other words the FIH has shown disrespect towards the Government which has only reinstated the Indian Hockey Federation as per the law of the land," they said.

"For the record, whatever activities that were conducted in the past 2-3 years, including training and participation of the national team in various events, was possible only due to the support rendered by the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), a government institution," the ex-players pointed out.

"It has come as a surprise that the FIH, which on one hand fails to respect the Ministry of Sports, wants help from the Government to conduct the Champions Trophy. This again means use of the Government`s facilities for free and then diverting the profits generated to their coffers as was the case when they conducted the World Cup."

According to the Olympians, this was a clear case of double standards by the FIH, which announced that Champions Trophy would to be held in India without involving the Union Government.

The former players said the way FIH has functioned gives the impression that its actions have the approval of the Government.

"The press release dated February 3, 2010 issued by the FIH is conveying or giving the impression at large that its actions had the approval of the Ministry of Sports. The action also gives the misleading impression that the Ministry of Sports supports FIH`s stand of recognising Hockey India as the national sports federation for the game," they said.

"Has the Government disregarded/withdrawn its communication dated August 6, 2010 to FIH President Leandro Negre stating not to assign international events or have commercial dealings with Hockey India?" the former players sought to know.

"Therefore, the visit of the FIH President and the subsequent announcement has created an atmosphere of gross confusion in the country and the government has to come out with a proper clarification justifying the extent of its involvement leading to the present situation," they observed.

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