A day after it de-recognised Hockey India, the Sports Ministry dealt it another blow by seeking permission from the international hockey federation (FIH) to allow Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or Sports Authority of India (SAI) to select and send teams for international tournaments.
The Ministry told the FIH that it has recognised IHF as the sole national federation for India and requested it not to assign any international tournament or have any commercial dealings with HI under the impression that it was the National Sports Federation for hockey in India.
In November 2008, the FIH had transferred the membership of Indian Hockey Confederation, a joint body of men's and women's bodies in India, IHF and IWHF, to Hockey India after IOA suspended and disaffiliated IHF in April 2008.
Hockey India was eventually set up in May 2009. But IHF was revived in May this year after the Delhi High Court termed its suspension illegal as IOA had not followed its own rules in suspending it.
In a letter to the FIH on Friday, the ministry said the IHF president has confirmed that the process of unification of the men and women hockey bodies will be completed soon. “Once this process is completed and IHF becomes fully compliant with the constitution of the FIH, they will approach FIH for recognition /Affiliation / Membership,” the Ministry said, clarifying that it would closely monitor the process of merger.
“In the meanwhile, it is requested that the IOA or Sports Authority of India (SAI) may be permitted to field the Indian team for various FIH-recognised competition,” the letter said.
The FIH refused to comment on the letter or de-recognition of HI.
“The FIH is not in the position of making any comments at this stage,” said FIH communications manager Arjen Meijer.
The FIH office in Lausanne said president Leandro Negre was travelling in Germany and was not available for comment while acting director general Roger Webb was in a meeting.
The confusion over the national federation for hockey in India will persist for some more days. As per FIH bye-laws, recognition by the National Olympic Committee, the IOA in this case, and not government is necessary for membership.
The FIH can always ignore the government de-recognition and continue its association with HI. However, that would mean that neither it not HI will get government support for selection and sending teams for international competitions after the Commonwealth Games.
The Ministry has decided to ensure the players are not victimised in this power struggle till the end of the Games. Without the government support, HI can't even run camps or tournaments or send teams abroad as government funds all these activities.