Unfazed WSH organisers threaten legal action against FIH

New Delhi: Unperturbed by the FIH diktat asking member countries to either stay away from the World Series Hockey or risk Olympic exclusion, the organisers of the
league today said they will "go ahead" as planned and take legal action against the game`s governing body if necessary.

The WSH is a joint venture of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports television channel and is set to start in November this year with around 10 franchises fighting it out in the USD one million event.

"We are the only authorised body to run hockey in the country by the Government of India. The High Court has recognised us and revived us. Who is FIH to say they don`t recognise us? It proves that they have scant respect for the court," a peeved IHF president RK Shetty told reporters.

"We will be going ahead with the tournament. There is no question of backing out. We are organising the tournament for the benefit of the players and for the development of hockey. I am really surprised why the FIH is interfering in our
internal matters.”

"I am a person who always prefers to sort out things across the table. I am the last person to opt for it but if pushed to the wall our legal options are always open," Shetty said.

The IHF chief also said the WSH is a domestic tournament and FIH has no say in its organisation.

"It is a tournament which will be held in India and not in any other country. It is just a 45-day pro-development tournament and will not clash with FIH events. I don`t know why suddenly the FIH is acting like a big brother," Shetty said.

Even before its start, the WSH ran into rough weather with the FIH. In a strongly worded letter to all National Association`s (NAs) earlier this week, FIH stated that it does not recognise the league and anyone participating in the event will be declared ineligible to participate in the Olympics.

The FIH also revealed that in collaboration with Hockey India, which is running the game in the country, it will launch its own hockey league soon.

"FIH has received reports from some national associations that some of their players have been approached from agencies supposing to represent franchises that will participate in the new league," it said.

"FIH does not recognise the WSH. FIH notes that matches in the WSH may conflict with FIH major events, which may compromise an athlete`s participation in their national team program.”