New Delhi: The government has no business in the participation of national players in the controversial World Series Hockey and it`s up to the federation and players themselves to decide on the issue, sports minister Ajay Maken said.
Hockey India is not in favour of national players taking part in the multi-million dollar franchise-based league to be sponsored by Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sports, while International Hockey Federation (FIH) has also declared it as an "unsanctioned" event.
Maken, however, sought to steer clear of the controversy, saying that the government would not join issue in this case.
"The sports ministry has no view in this matter. Whether the national players play in the World Series Hockey will have to be decided by federation, selection committee, coach and players themselves," Maken said at the sidelines of PYKKA meeting here.
"The government cannot tell whether the players should or should not take part in the league. We cannot interfere in this matter. We are providing foreign coach and we are going to ensure that the preparations of the team for the Olympics are going on well. That is our job," he said.
Asked about reports that Sports Authority of India had sent a letter to the ministry that national campers should not be allowed to take part in WSH in view of Olympic Qualifiers, Maken said, "Government do not take decisions on such matters like whether the players take part in these leagues or not. I am saying this as sports minister."
The eight-team inaugural WSH is scheduled to be held across different cities of the country from December 17 to January 22 next year.
Indian stars, including Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Sardara Singh, Arjun Halappa, Bharat Chetri have signed up for the league besides a host of international players.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal