As per a 25-July, 2011 press release from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt of India, “In a significant way forward, Indian Hockey Federation (I.H.F) & Hockey India (H.I) today came together to sign an agreement leading upto formation of a joint executive board which shall perform the function of the National Sports Federation for Hockey. ”
Is it a really way forward, may not be, as K Arumugam of stick2hockey.com writes the facts which may have been ignored by most of columnists, “Whether we add medals to our kitty or not, whether we add quality players to our national team or not, we are adept at adding organizations. Indian Hockey Confederation (2000), IHF since long, to Ad-Hoc committee (2008) to Hockey India (2009) and then now (2011) now a neo-avtar, Joint Executive Board (JEB). ” (read the full article here)
But, as every other Indian Hockey follower, I am also very happy to see the progress and hopeful that the day, when IHF is back in the thick of action of Indian Hockey, will be the turning point for Indian Hockey. I have written down salient points of the deal between IHF and HI as published by Indian Express and are given below in the current article. I am also helpful that the deal will help in the smooth organization of the first edition of World Series Hockey, an annual hockey league by IHF and Nimbus Sport, which will be another mile stone for Indian Hockey.
Salient points of the deal (as published in Indian Express)
* IHF and HI shall continue to be separate legal entities.
* HI and IHF shall set up a Joint Executive Board (till 31-12-2012) consisting of the existing Executive Boards of HI and IHF for the limited purposes of holding annual national championship, selection of the national team in different categories, preparation of the national team and participation of the national team in FIH approved international tournaments.
* The JEB will be responsible for all decisions pertaining to selection of the national team, selection of the coaching and other personnel and drawing up the teams’ calendar. IHF will be equally represented on all committees for this purpose. A Joint Working Committee consisting of the presidents of HI and IHF and three members each from HI and IHF will also be formed.
* National Championships will be jointly held by IHF and HI after holding joint selection of state teams.
* The name of HI would be changed.
* JEB shall be chaired by the HI president and co-chaired by IHF president.
* No restrictions on participation of players in WSH contracted before 01.04.2011, subject to training schedule and duration for which players can be spared.
* Provisional recognition to HI as National Sports Federation and status quo for recognition of IHF up to Dec 31, 2012, subject to setting up of the JEB and JWC within seven days of grant of recognition and the JWC initiating process of change of name of Hockey India.
Issues that remain (as per Indian Express)
* The joint body formed will follow HI constitution, something that IHF is not too happy about
* The cut-off date for signing players for WSH has not been removed
* Most important are the ongoing legal cases between HI and IHF, none of which will be withdrawn
* KPS Gill’s role — will remain ‘Godfather’ but no clarity if he will have any rights
Recalling the major turning points since April 2008 (ref: Times of India)
April 2008: Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) suspended by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) after a TV channel shows its secretary allegedly taking bribes for selection of a player. IOA forms an ad-hoc committee to run the game
May 2009: Hockey India formed after the International Hockey Federation ( FIH)) threatens to take away the 2010 World Cup in absence of a proper body
May 2010: IHF gets a lifeline after Delhi High Court quashes government’s order derecognising it
August 2010: Hockey India holds its elections and elects vidya Stokes as president and Narender Batra as secretary, Stokes was not eligible as per ministry norms.
Oct 2010: Vidya Stokes resigns
Dec 2010: Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) holds elections and elects RK Shetty as president in place of KPS Gill. Ashok Mathur picked as secretary
June 2011: Sports ministry proposes to merge the two bodies
July 15, 2011: Talks fail after IHF officials came up with fresh set of demands at the last minute
July 25, 2011: The two parties talk again and come up with a solution