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IHF maybe hauled up in Parliament
February 18, 2007 16:46 IST
The efforts of a few Olympians to 'Save Indian Hockey' seems to be finally bearing fruits with Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar advising them to push for the issue to be taken up for debate in the Parliament.
After conducting a protest rally a few months ago, a set of former players Aiyar a few days back with a plea to hold a thorough inquiry into what they alleged to be "financial irregularities" of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
Sources said during a meeting for nearly an hour, Aiyar urged the Olympians to seek the support of Parliamentarians and initiate a process for the issue to be discussed on the floor of the Houses.
The Minister, sources said, prescribed names of some 20 Parliamentarians whose voices are counted in the both the Houses.
When contacted, Aiyar said he suggested the former greats approach the legislators as the IHF was an elected autonomous body.
"They gave me a memorandum. But the IHF is an autonomous body. I asked them to meet the Parliamentarians who can take up the issue in the Parliament," Aiyar told PTI.
Meanwhile, following the Olympians' meeting with the Sports Minister, sources said that IHF President KPS Gill has established contact with one of the former players.
The Olympians -- including Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal, Commander Nandy Singh, Sukhbir Singh Grewal and R.S. Bhola -- in a memorandum to Aiyar had also demanded that "income tax raid" be conducted against IHF Secretary K Jothikumaran.
Holding the IHF responsible for India's downslide in recent times, the players said since the Government paid for the tours and other expenses, it must compel the hockey body to bring in transparency in financial dealings.
"The IHF does not submit accounts at its AGMs. All of its financial dealings are secret. While the government pays for tours, coaching camps and scientific support, IHF wastes its resources on free tours and other avoidable exercises.
"When sponsors like ESPN and Sahara tie up other sports like cricket, the sponsorship amounts are announced publicly. When the same organisations sponsor Indian hockey, the IHF never makes the sponsorship fee public," they said in the memorandum.
The Olympians had accused the IHF of mismanagement of hockey at domestic level and said frequent changes of team's support start and whimsical selections were some of the reasons for India's downslide.
Highlighting the team's string of forgettable performances -- including 11th place finish in the World Cup, missing out on a semifinal berth in Asiad for the first time in 48 years and running the danger of not qualifying for the Olympics -- they demanded appropriate steps to ensure India's rise in hockey in international level.