Friday, August 13, 2010

United they stand

Finally a unified body for hockey

The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and the Indian Women's Hockey Federation (IWHF) merged on Thursday, taking the unified entity a step closer to recognition from the world body.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is, till now, recognising Hockey India as the sole governing body for the game, arguing that it is the single unified federation which adheres to FIH statutes.
But with the IHF-IWHF merger, and the government and judiciary on its side, it will put more pressure on The International Hockey Federatio to recognise the merged body.
The new body, still named IHF, will meet again on September 9 to pass the various amendments in its constitution, before the elections are held in October. They will then apply for FIH recognition.
The executive board and general body of both organisations approved the merger, following which a combined meeting of both the federations took place.
"All the proceedings were watched by sports ministry's director (sports) Deepika Kachhal in her capacity as observer," an IHF functionary said.
IWHF secretary Amrit Bose said it was a " golden day" in the history of Indian hockey.
"It is one of the happiest days for us and a new beginning.
Finally, we have officially become one unit.
Almost all the men's and women's member units were present," she said. " From now on, all hockey activities in the country will be conducted by IHF." Interestingly, there were several people at the meeting who were present and voted during the Hockey India elections on August 5.
A prominent visitor at the proceedings was former India captain Dilip Tirkey, who was invited to the meeting.
Tirkey was named by IHF on its selection panel but had to withdraw as his employers Air India were affiliated to Hockey India then.
Madhu Yadav, the former manager of the national women's team who was thrown out in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal involving excoach M K Kaushik, has also switched sides.
Bose said the merged entity had the support of another ex-India captain-Pargat Singh.
"Pargat is with us. He met (IHF president KPS) Mr Gill yesterday and would have been here if an important meeting had not come up in Punjab," she said. Pargat was in the fray for the post of Hockey India president against Vidya Stokes.
When contacted, Pargat said he endorsed the stand taken by the government.
"Gill was very positive and wanted to find a solution to the present mess," he told M AIL T ODAY . When asked if he saw a role for himself in the new body, he said: " It doesn't make a difference to me if I get a post or not. I just want to support hockey." Gill said the merged entity will pass the amendments required in the IHF constitution in the next meeting.
"We will meet on September 9 and go for elections after Dussehra," the IHF chief said.
"The formalities of constitution amendment will be completed and after a suitable notice, we will hold elections and then apply for FIH recognition." Bose said the elected executive body will have at least 40 per cent representation of women.
"Till the elections, the executive committees of the two bodies will jointly manage the affairs," she said.
Gill said IHF will not admit anyone who is involved in the administration of any other sport.
"We want ex-players to get involved. But we will not induct anyone who is into any other sport," he said.
The squad for the women's World Cup is to be selected and there is conjecture about who will send the team.
FIH still recognises Hockey India while the government has written to the world body to allow the team to be sent by the Indian Olympic Association or the Sports Authority of India.
"The team to be selected is a national team and Hockey India being a private body, cannot select it." Two of the five selectors in the panel ( Zafar Iqbal and Ajitpal Singh) are government nominees. It is a national selection panel," Gill said.

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