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No threat to Olympic qualifiers for hockey to be held in India

Source: PTI
September 17, 2011 18:47 IST

India may have lost the right to host the Champions Trophy but there is no threat to the 2012 Olympic qualifiers to be held in India in February as Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), is hopeful of forming an unified body along with Hockey India (HI) before the tournament.

IHF president R K Shetty, on Saturday, voiced confidence that the sports ministry would resolve the impasse over the power sharing formula between the HI and the IHF.

"After a round of meeting between Sports Minister Ajay Maken and FIH President Leonardo Negre and Chief Executive Kelly Fairweather, I am sure that the matter will be resolved soon," Shetty said, in Bangalore.

FIH had stripped India from hosting this year's Champions Trophy due to ongoing problems with governance of hockey in the country and later allotted it to New Zealand.

Shetty said FIH was 'wrong' in withdrawing Champions Trophy on the pretext that there should be only one federation running the sport and opined India should have been given a chance to present its case.

"As far as we are concerned, it is just a pressure tactic," he said.

"FIH should know it is the Indian government who took the initiative to arrive at a solution and should have discussed its decision with all parties before taking a call.

"I knew this year's Champions Trophy was a closed chapter. But since it was Negre who offered India to host the tournament, I was hopeful they would consider the sensitivity of the issue and would announce a host later," he added.

Shetty said FIH should have given some time to IHF and HI to solve the power-sharing formula.

"We have to go to the Supreme Court and the law of the land cannot be ignored," he said.

Asked if the reason for FIH denying India the hosting rights was RBI blocking pending payment of $ 5 lakh with regard to last year's World Cup, Shetty said: "I have read this in the media...there is the money factor, which has driven FIH to take Champions Trophy out of India."

Shetty also felt that the participation of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the discussion was necessary in order to resolve the power-sharing formula between HI and IHF.

"We have to take decision keeping IOA in the loop," said Shetty.

He also said FIH should understand that hockey in India has the potential to surpass the popularity of cricket.

FIH has expressed its displeasure over the 'settlement' reached between HI and IHF with the help of the Sports Ministry and withdrew the Champions Trophy from India that was scheduled to be held from December 3-11.

FIH also announced Auckland as replacement for New Delhi, four hours before the meeting with the Indian officials.

Asked if India would be able to retain the Olympic qualifiers in February, Shetty said the Sports Ministry is 'sitting hard' on the issue and was confident of finding a resolution before the scheduled tournament year next.

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