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'Clean up the mess or forget World Cup'

india Updated: Apr 27, 2008 21:26 IST

PTI
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The embattled Indian Hockey Federation came in for some fresh salvos from the FIH with the world body on Sunday threatening to scrap the Promoting Indian Hockey Project and the 2010 World Cup if the IOA fails to clean up the mess in IHF.

Expressing dismay at the state of Indian hockey just a day before an IOA meeting to discuss the bribe scandal involving suspended IHF secretary K Jothikumaran, FIH chief Els van Breda Vriesman said the world body can't work with a federation whose top official was under investigation following a TV sting operation.

"It (the sting operation) is never heard of in the world of field hockey. I wish the Indian hockey gets positive publicity and not this kind. We are in touch with both International Olympic committee and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) how to proceed in such situation," she told PTI.

"Now the IOA has to manage Indian Hockey Confederation because I don't think we can work with a half-suspended Secretary General (K Jothikumaran) and a president probably linked because he protects his secretary in this case," she added.
Vriesman said she was not asking anybody to step down but the IOA or the Sports Ministry will have to intervene now if the future of Promoting Indian Hockey Project and 2010 World Cup is to be protected.

"The agenda before the Indian table is clear. But who is going to take the decisions. It is upto the Indian Olympic Association and the Sports ministry to handle the situation, it is not up to us.

"We have already given a deadline to the Indian Hockey Confederation (for the operationalisation of Promoting Indian Hockey Project). That has passed. We said ok we will give more time. Now it (IHF) has two weeks to take vital decisions and the future of Promoting Indian Hockey Project and 2010 World Cup are decided," Vriesman asserted.

The FIH chief said she has spoken to IOA president Suresh Kalmadi who has told her that all the concerns and the issues she raised will be discussed and major decisions would be taken in the meeting on Monday.

"I have made it clear (to Kalmadi), it is upto them (IOA and Sports Ministry) to take decisions. They have to ensure the hosting of World Cup in India, operationalise the Promoting Indian Hockey Project, for which we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding."

She said as per the MOU, the FIH reserves the right to move the 2010 World Cup to another place if the Promoting Indian Hockey Project is not implemented in letter and spirit.

"When we offered to help Indian hockey come up and regain its past glory, the Indian side said yes, that's why went ahead. Having agreed to this project, we have set targets which are not met. It is almost two years over and how long can we wait?" she asked furiously.

"Had they said no we could have gone to Pakistan, China or Bangladesh. They agreed to it and then doing everything against it except saying no. The situation right now is worse than saying no," she said.

On asked whether the World Cup could be shifted for want of sponsorship, she retorted, "No, not at all. We have lined up sponsors, they are ready to jump in."

"But, companies in India want to help hockey as a social cause and they are more interested in Promoting Indian Hockey Project than in the World Cup."