Thursday, July 29, 2010

Indian Hockey Elections Postponed yet again!

World body bats for HI, wants elections soon
Shubhodeep Chakravarty, Hindustan Times
The wait for the elections to Hockey India (HI) got longer on Wednesday. Stay orders in the Delhi and Mumbai High Court resulted in HI deferring its polls by at least two weeks. What is disconcerting is that even if the orders are vacated, HI will surely miss the fourth deadline of July 31 set by
Despite the confusion on Tuesday when the government observer for the polls was recalled, HI had decided to go ahead with its schedule.
FIH vice president, Antonio von Ondarza, was also present on the occasion and was visibly disappointed after HI decided to adjourn its annual general meeting in the wake of the court orders. "I had hoped to share a drink with the newly-elected members. Instead, I am flabbergasted at the turn of events," he said.
Ondarza was surprised that the matter of the Indian Hockey Federation was being brought up again despite a ban imposed by the international body. "IHF was banned 10 years ago. Why is it being brought back into a position of power is something that is beyond me."
It is another matter that the FIH had not banned IHF but asked it to merge with its women’s counterpart and hand over affiliation to the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC).
The Delhi High Court had earlier deemed IHF as the only recognised body of hockey in India.
The fate of the sport lies in delicate balance as Ondarza warned that provisional acceptance given to HI on the condition of holding elections by July 31, might be withdrawn. This would mean that both the men and women’s teams could be debarred.
The first casualty would be the women’s team that would not be able to take part in the World Cup in Argentina in August. "Although unfair to the athletes, I am answerable to the stakeholders and have compulsions," said Ondarza. But he did indicate that if HI was able to get the stay vacated and conduct elections in a week, FIH might yet give its consent.
HI secretary general, Narinder Batra, was confident of conducting polls within days if the stay was vacated. "We have always wanted to conduct polls as per the FIH deadline. We will try and get the stays vacated but saying anything more on a matter which is sub-judice, would not be appropriate," he said.
IHF president, KPS Gill, seemed to favour truce and said it was time to stop mudslinging. "I appreciate the government’s efforts and don’t find the need to go into debates anymore. I will meet Antonio von Ondarza on Thursday to discuss present matters," he said.

 Bombay HC stays Hockey India elections for three weeks
Compounding the problems for Hockey India, the Bombay High Court today stayed the HI elections for three weeks on a petition filed by Mumbai Hockey Association. MHA lawyer Vijendra Jabra told PTI that a stay has been granted on the elections scheduled today in New Delhi as HI violated the HighCourt's earlier order.
In January, the High Court had directed Hockey India to consider MHA's application for recognition within six weeks. However, HI did not comply with the order, so MHA had filed a fresh petition.
The court today stayed the elections and will hear the matter in due course, he said.
Hockey India, which has the recognition of International Hockey Federation (FIH), has to complete its election as stipulated by the world body by July 31, failing which India would be barred from participating in international tournaments.

High Court raps Centre over status of Hockey India
New Delhi, Jul 28 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today came down heavily on the Central government for not complying with its order regarding recognition of Hockey India (HI) and said that elections in it might be postponed.
Despite the High Court's order that HI is a private body and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) the only recognised body of the sport, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said that both IHF and HI are recognised bodies.
Furious over the stand taken by the government, Justice S Murlidhar said that it's a breach of the court's order and directed the government to issue fresh letter clarifying its stand by this evening.
The court directed the Joint Secretary (Sports) Injeti Srinivas to appear before it at 3 pm with a clarification on government's stand regarding status of HI.

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