The uncertainty over New Delhi hosting one of the three hockey qualifiers for the 2012 Olympics is over. On Saturday, the executive board of the international hockey federation (FIH) on Saturday accepted Hockey India's arguments in favour of re-affirming its status as India’s national federation.
Getting to host the event was not only a matter of prestige for Indian hockey following the Champions Trophy debacle, but also necessary because it would have affected the groupings for Qualifiers and could have saddled India with tougher opponents.
Though HI officials would be gloating over their success, there is not a lot to cheer for the real Indian hockey aficionados considering the manner in which it was achieved.
A routine matter of hosting an international tournament — that too in a country that contributes nearly 50 per cent to FIH revenue - was dragged, disputed and used as threat.
This should be a lesson to all stakeholders in Indian hockey - HI, Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Sports Ministry. Also, the issues that put the Olympic Qualifiers in jeopardy - namely the presence of two federations at the national level - is still hanging fire and this temporary respite (assertion of its power by FIH) for HI would only widen the rift.
The stakeholders must find a permanent solution to the governance problem. Both HI and IHF must shun their rigid stands and find a middle ground. The IOA and Union sports ministry should cajole or threaten, if need be, to bring them together. Though it had its way this time, the FIH also can't be unbending — it too has a lot to lose if India is not part of its tournaments.
The immediate concern for all stakeholders though should be to organise the Olympic Qualifiers successfully and help the team qualify.
Organising the event but failing to qualify would be a bigger setback. Missing the second consecutive Olympics would be a disaster that India can do without.