Nimbus debunks FIH statement on WSH

Mumbai: World Series Hockey organizers Nimbus on Wednesday debunked the view of the International Hockey Federation that there was no slot for the USD 2 million league before the London Olympics and reiterated that the eight-team franchise-based event was a domestic tournament.

"We wish to state that WSH is a domestic tournament in India and the country`s international commitments (for the present) would end on February 26 (the last date of the Pre-Olympic qualifiers in Delhi) and WSH starts on the 29th. The Indian players are not going to play the other five events that had been mentioned," Nimbus`s Chief Operating Officer, said Yannick Colaco.

Colaco was reacting to the views expressed by FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather today in Delhi that WSH was an unsanctioned event as it is being organised by the Indian Hockey Federation, not recognised by the international body, jointly with Nimbus.

"We have been clear about our position from the very beginning. The international calendar is packed. Where is the space? There are six qualification tournaments till the Olympics, which means there is international hockey every week," said Fairweather while saying WSH was an unsanctioned event.

"Anyone planning to play six weeks of a private league before the Olympics is certainly not serious about the game," the FIH CEO said in Delhi.

Drawing a parallel, Colaco pointed out that the African Nations Cup was held even as club football was on in Europe.

"Even in cricket there are bilateral series (in other countries) when the IPL is being played in India. In WSH 80 per cent would be Indian players. So where is the problem," he asked.

He also drew attention to the judgement of the Delhi High Court on Monday clearing the way for the players` participation in the WSH provided its schedule did not clash with international commitments of the national team.

A Delhi HC bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw disposed of a petition of Joachim Carvalho, a former player and coach, that Hockey India (HI), which is managing the game, be restrained from threatening players that they would not be considered for national duty if they participate in WSH.

"We are of the opinion that the matter can be placed before the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in the same prospective as narrated by us in the judgement. Clarification can be sought from the FIH. At this time, the FIH can be impressed upon to sanction the event (WSH) if it is still required, more so, when the new dates to be fixed by the organisers are not in any way clashing with the schedule fixed by FIH for international events.

"Domestic events can be arranged in such a manner that it does not come in conflict with preparatory camps or the period when the international events are going to be held," the bench said, adding IHF had already agreed to re-schedule WSH.

The court said money flow in the game was "necessary" to "redeem" past glory of hockey and ways and means can be found to facilitate participation of players in WSH.

It ruled that regulations of HI restraining players` participation in WSH would only apply "in respect of the commitments made after March 31, 2011".


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