Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of Hockey Punjab (HP), came out strongly against Hockey India for refusing to recognise the state body. Badal accused Hockey India (HI) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) of deliberately targeting major hockey playing states.
As per the directives of HI, only one body from each state unit can get affiliation. Badal claimed that despite following the said directive and other guidelines mentioned by HI, HP has been denied affiliation. “All hockey associations in the state unanimously merged under HP as per rules laid down at the national level. It is our democratic right to be a part of HI,” he said on Sunday.
Pargat Singh, former national player said that HI and IOA officials have refused to provide appropriate reasons for their decision. “I have personally spoken to (Suresh) Kalmadi and (Ashok) Mattoo but have got no response. They are busy passing the buck.”
Mattoo however told PTI that HI was waiting for the recommendations of a five-member committee which was set up to look into matters of affiliation. “We are on the course of finalising all the affiliation issues including that of Punjab. There were some issues raised by members within HP and that is why it has not been granted affiliation till now,” he said.
It is widely believed that Suresh Kalmadi will contest for the post of President in the HI elections to be held on the 29th of this month - a post that Badal has set his eyes on and this may be the root cause of HP’s trouble. However, Badal refused to comment on the issue.
Besides Punjab, states like Jharkhand, Mumbai, Kerela, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh have also been denied affiliation. President of Punjab Olympic Association, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, expressed his concern. “With Commonwealth Games and the Hockey World Cup this year, IOA and HI should keep their vested interests aside.”
Badal however, told Hindustan Times that collaborative action along with other states which have been denied affiliation is part of the plan for the future and that legal route may also be looked into if the need arises.