Sports Minister, MS Gill, on Sunday blamed Hockey India (HI) for the deferment of its elections. He said isolation of some state units from the affiliation process had caused the latest debacle.
Speaking at the inauguration of Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Gill questioned the logic behind denying affiliation to certain state units.
“Units like Bengal, Bombay and Madras have existed for over 60 years. Are all of them running on undemocratic lines?” he asked. Gill said that he had instructed the Sports Ministry officials to update the international hockey federation (FIH) on the recent development.
Elections were postponed on Saturday for the third time after a Rajasthan High Court bench granted a stay on implementation of the minutes of the HI meeting on January 11 in which affiliations was granted to the newly formed Hockey Rajasthan, ignoring the claims of the Rajasthan Hockey Association that has been in existence for nearly 60 years now.
With elections a bleak possibility before the Hockey World Cup starting on February 28 here, Gill said the Sports Ministry would present a clear stand in the court.
“We want to improve the game in the country and we will explain this in court. We want a free, fair and clean HI too,” he said.
“The world body (FIH) wants one unit in one state but it does not mean you remove the names of those who are democratically running hockey in those states,” Gill said.
Gill's comments would be music to officials in Mumbai, Vidarbha, Hyderabad and Bhopal who are fighting against the one-state-one-association rule.
However, it is altogether another matter that during his recent visit to Mumbai, FIH president Leandro Negre said the sport's world body has not forced this rule on Hockey India.
The sports minister’s comments prove that he too is not in favour of denying affiliation to states units already in existence.