FIH cannot stop players from joining World Series: IHF

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) Thursday said it was “surprised” at the world body FIH de-recognising the World Series Hockey (WSH) and threatening players with a ban if they take part in the league.

IHF president R.K. Shetty told IANS that he was “surprised” at FIH’s u-turn, but said it will not impact the Nimbus-sponsored league, which is slated to start later this year.

“How can FIH stop any player from taking part in the league? There are so many leagues in different parts of the world where players go and play. FIH has changed their own statement. Earlier FIH said they have no problem with the league,” said Shetty.

“The league is for the benefit of the players and for the benefit of the game. It seems they are not interested in that,” he added.

FIH recognises Hockey India (HI) as the custodian of the sport in the country and has written to all state associations asking them not to be a part of the league. FIH also said they are planning a professional league with HI.

“The FIH does not recognise the World Series Hockey,” the governing body said in a statement.

“Matches in the World Series may conflict with major FIH events, which may compromise an athlete’s participation in their national team’s programme.

“Any player and any association that participates in the World Series may render both ineligible to participate in any FIH tournament, including Olympic qualifying tournaments and the Olympic Games,” the statement read.

Asked about FIH’s proposed league with HI, Shetty said that the IHF has been recognised by the court and the government and it is the sole authority to run the sport in the country.

“IHF has been instituted by the court and we have been recognised as the sole body to run hockey in the country by the government. The matter is sub-judice and FIH cannot take sides. They cannot interfere in our internal dispute. If they want to solve the problem then they should play a constructive role. They should be like a big brother and talk to both the parties,” he said.

Filed under: Hockey, Olympic Games

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