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Dual identity: Negre adds to confusion

On Monday, International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Leandro Negre talked at length about the hurdles hampering the progress of the game in the country. However, instead of clearing the air, he only added to the confusion. Navneet Singh writes.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2012 00:59 IST
Navneet Singh

On Monday, International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief Leandro Negre talked at length about the hurdles hampering the progress of the game in the country. However, instead of clearing the air, he only added to the confusion.

In July last year, Negre was the first to oppose the merger of Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) — the two warring factions that govern the sport here. All through this week, however, he has sung a different tune and now backs a merger between HI and IHF.

A day before he returned to the FIH headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Negre called an impromptu press conference. He answered questions on a wide range of topics including World Series Hockey and a merger between the two warring factions. Most of the on-lookers were baffled at the repetitive nature of the statements.

Many wondered aloud the need to address the gathering when he had already talked on the same issues in a similar vein on two occasions in the past week.

Negre’s policy of playing his cards close to his chest also had hockey pundits in the country wondering what his next move would be. During his week long stay in the capital, he met IHF officials, who are coordinating the WSH event. But he didn't disclose the details of the meetings.

This isn’t the first time when the FIH and Negre have made statements that conceal far more than they reveal.

In the past FIH failed to shed any light on the projects they had envisaged to promote hockey in the country. Neither have they made public the funds they were supposed to give to HI for the development of the game after the nation hosted the 2010 World Cup. Also, except HI officials, no one else knows much about FIH's ‘Chak de India’ plan which was floated in May/June last year.