Top hockey teams and players of the country will not take part in the 67th All-India Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup Hockey Tournament to be held in Bhopal from August 10.
Reason: the tournament is being organised by the Bhopal Hockey Association (BHA), an affiliated body of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), which is not recognised by the sports ministry of India.
Big teams and renowned players used to take part in the tournament. As its popularity grew it was organised in a big way in 2012.
Some renowned national and international players took part in it and the tournament concluded with a big announcement by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that the tournament would have `1 crore as prize money.
The tournament couldn't be held in 2013 because of the state assembly elections. As per the CM's announcement, the tournament being held this year would have offered the prize money to the teams, had there not been the affiliation-related controversy or had the tournament been affiliated with Hockey India (HI).
BHA secretary I Rehman said, "We are going to organise the most-awaited tournament. In all, 12 teams are participating in the tournament. Other than top teams and renowned players, there are many teams and good players in India who would take part in it."
When asked if the renowned teams and players keeping away from the tournament means fall in quality of the tournament, he said it was not a downfall rather the tournament would give a chance to new players.
Teams which are participating in the tournament are Tamil Nadu Eleven, UP Eleven, Shine Club Kolkatta, Bhilai Steel Factory Club, Bihar Eleven, Western Central Railway Jabalpur, Union Bank of India, Kota Club and four local clubs' teams.
Director of sports VK Singh said, "The MP government has nothing to do with the tournament."