We want to revive the interest of hockey in India: FIH CEO

PTI| Updated: Jan 17, 2014, 22:48 PM IST

New Delhi: FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather on Friday acknowledged that Hockey World League has some teething problems but assured to overcome them in the next edition.

"There are things we need to look at, but we are pleased with the number of teams participating in the tournament. A lot of work still needs to be done. In the first weekend in New Delhi, it was watched by 40 million people worldwide," Fairweather told reporters here.
Fairweather said FIH coming to India on a regular basis is a part of a long-term strategy to revive the game in the country.

"It is very important. The answer is very very clear. This is a part of a long term strategy. That has been the part of FIH strategy for the last 3-4 years," he said.

"India missed out playing in Olympic Games. Once you miss out playing in Olympic Games, it really puts you back number of years.

"So we have decided to hold one big event every year till 2018. This is in order to revive the interest of hockey in India. Not just India we hold regular events in Argentina and Belgium which are rapidly coming out as top hockey playing nations," he added.

Fairweather defended FIH`s decision to grant India host of tournaments despite poor crowd turnout.

"We recognise that empty stands are an issue, but the television broadcasts are a distinguished spearhead. India has got the tournaments because they deserved it as we wanted to revive interest in the game in India," he said.

Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said: India qualified for the 2014 world cup. Anyone who hosts a tournament gets to play. Now its FIH decision to host it here, so where is the question of free rights? Champions Trophy was taken away from India two years back."