New Delhi: The International Hockey Federation today made it clear that it does not recognise the IHF-organised World Series Hockey and the event remains unsanctioned as per the FIH statutes and bye-laws.
"The FIH would like to restate that it has not changed its position on World Series Hockey. It remains an unsanctioned event as per the FIH Statutes and Bye-Laws.
"The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) is not recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as the governing body for the sport in India. The IHF has not been recognised by the FIH since 2000. Instead the FIH recognises Hockey India as the sole national governing body for hockey in India," the FIH said in a statement.
The ruling comes a day after the country`s top five players - captain Sandeep Singh, Adrian D`Souza, Arjun Halappa, Sardara Singh and Prabhjot Singh - left the ongoing national camp in Bangalore without permission to attend a function organised by the IHF and Nimbus Sports, who unveiled them as captains of four of the eight WSH franchises.
"Regarding player participation in the tournament, athletes that signed contracts with World Series Hockey before 31st March 2011 could, subject to them having no other contractual or national obligations with their respective National Associations, play in the League," the statement added.
FIH`s statement is in contrast to Harish Thawani, chairman of Nimbus Communications, who had yesterday said that IHF would not interfere in the proposed USD 3 million prize money tournament, scheduled to be held from December 15 to January 22.
"We have a written undertaking from the FIH not to interfere in the World Series Hockey after my meeting with (FIH Chief) Mr (Leandro) Negre in London and Lausanne," Thawani had said.
The FIH said that act like yesterday`s, when the captains were announced, is not doing the sport in the country any good.
"The FIH is aware that the Indian government is leading talks and that a critical meeting between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) is scheduled for Monday 25 July 2011. The FIH believes that announcements such as those made regarding World Series Hockey are not in the best interest of the sport and will surely not be conducive to finding a long term solution," the FIH said.
WSH is a tournament supported by IHF, HI`s rival fraction, which has strongly been objecting to the players taking part in this event.
A total of 176 hockey players from India and across the world have been signed up by the organisers to play in the tournament that would feature eight franchise teams for 61 matches.