IOA`s meeting fails to solve HI-IHF impasse

New Delhi: An urgent meeting convened by the India Olympic Association failed to resolve the dispute between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation over the issue of governance of the game in the country. Subsequently, another meeting has been fixed for October 14 to iron out the issues between the sparring bodies.

The meeting was convened following FIH`s threat to shift the Olympic qualifiers from the country which might jeopardise national team`s chances of making it to the London Games.

The hurriedly called meeting by the IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra was attended by IHF representatives KPS Gill, Ashok Mathur and Amrit Bose while HI was represented by its secretary-general Narinder Batra.

"It was a preliminary meeting and we heard both the sides. It`s a very very complicated affair. It`s a very difficult scenario at the moment. We have requested both the HI and IHF to keep players, country and hockey`s interest in mind so that FIH does not take away Olympics qualifiers from India," Malhotra told reporters.

"There are whole lot of issues and to come up with any immediate solution, that will take some time. The FIH`s stand that there should be only one body governing the game in the country," Malhotra said.

"The merger initiated by the union Sports Ministry between HI and IHF and the IOA`s stand that there should be no government interference as per the IOC charter, issues like these will take time to resolve and Tuesday’s meeting was just a step in that direction. We all want an amicable solution and hope hope for the best," added Malhotra.

In its letter to the sports ministry, dated September 27, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) had warned that India`s participation in next year`s London Olympics may be jeopardised, if IOC charter and FIH statutes were not adhered to while resolving the issues related to the governance of the game in the country.

The FIH has already shifted the Champions Trophy from India and it will now be held in New Zealand.

Malhotra said he is optimistic that the Olympic qualifiers will be held in New Delhi as per schedule and the country`s participation in FIH-sanctioned events will continue as usual.

"We want HI and IHF to come up with a compromise soon and keep their egos aside in the best interest of hockey. We are confident that Olympic qualifiers will be held in India and our team will qualify for the London Olympics," he said.

"IOA normally does not interfere in the issues of federations but at the same time, when the team will participate in the Olympics, the Indian contingent will be called IOA contingent and that`s why we are interfering in this issue. Without hockey, our contingent does not look complete," he added.

The FIH letter, signed by president Leandro Negre, mentioned seven issues, including the payment India owe to FIH with regard to hosting of the 2010 World Cup. It said that all lawsuits relating to the governance of hockey "must be finally resolved and terminated."

Malhotra also said that the IOA only recognises HI as the sole governing body of the sport in India.


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