Will ensure major hockey tourneys remain with India: Maken
New Delhi: Describing the FIH`s decision to shift the Champions Trophy out of India as a "big setback", Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Tuesday said that he would try his best to bring the high-profile event back to the country.
Maken said he would try to convince the FIH President Leandro Negre when he meets him on September 13 and try to change the world body`s decision.
"It is a big set back for the country. I will try to ensure that the major hockey tournaments alloted to India remain with us and also try to unite the two warring fractions-- Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) – yet again in the larger interest of the game and the country," Maken said.
He also promised that he would ensure that India did not lose hosting rights of any other major hockey tournament in the future.
"My main aim is to see that the Olympic qualifiers should stay with India," he added.
India is entrusted with the rights to host five international tournaments, including the Olympic qualifiers for both men and women in February next year.
The International Hockey Federation today announced that India will no longer host the 2011 Men`s Champions Trophy due to ongoing problems with the governance of hockey in the country.
Maken said that his ministry officials would hold a meeting with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), HI and IHF on September 12, a day before he will meet Negre.
Informing that he would like all the three bodies to talk at the same wavelength in front of the FIH chief, the minister said, "I would like the IOA, HI and IHF to say the same things in front of Negre when I meet him on September 13 and present a better and stronger picture of hockey in the country."
The Sports Minister agreed that it would be a good wake up call for the two warring fractions -- HI and IHF – whose "inflated egos" are hampering the growth of hockey in India.
"Despite my best personal efforts to unite the two bodies it did not help because of inflated egos of the people of the two fractions. These needs to be sorted out at the earliest. But the problem is that the Sports Ministry can only act as a facilitator," explained Maken.
Asked if he suspected a conspiracy by FIH in taking away the prestigious event from India, Maken said that the Sports Ministry has sent a letter to the international body in this regard.
"HI is what we recognise as the official body for hockey in India as far as dealings with the international federation is concerned. We didn`t bid for the Champions Trophy but it was really nice on the part of the FIH to give it to us. Now the FIH executive board has decided to take it away from India," said Maken.
"Besides the administrative reasons, there might be some commercial and financial constraints also," he added.
Meanwhile, the sources in the ministry said another key reason for India losing Champions Trophy is that the amount of approximately USD 500,000, which is owed to FIH in connection with the World Cup in 2010, has not been paid.
The release of this money is apparently being refused by the Reserve Bank of India.