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India behind the times: FIH boss

IHF President Van Breda Vriesman says, 'the federation needs to develop game at the grassroots, reports Ajai Masand.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 23:18 IST

International hockey Federation (FIH) President Van Breda Vriesman has always been known to speak her heart out, especially when she is taking about Indian hockey.

She was here at the Al Rayyan Stadium for the last Group B league match between Indian and South Korea and watched it keenly. Following is what she had to say about Indian hockey in general and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in particular.

What do you feel about India's showing at the Asian Games here?

It's a disaster. India have to go through a difficult and uncertain period to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now they will have to go through the process of playing three six-nation tournaments and hope they are able to qualify from there.

What is your take on the administration of Indian hockey?

The present administration (of the IHF) is not developed… it is not in sync with the times. They need to put in more effort in grassroot development, umpire programmes, have more turfs.

We have prepared a blueprint for Indian hockey and copies of that are there on the tables of the Indian Hockey Federation, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). But in the end, they have to implement things; we can't do that job.

We are working towards helping India make it to the Olympics. They came to us and admitted before the Asian Games that it would be difficult for them (to qualify here).

Do you think the rules being framed by FIH, like the no off-side rule, are harming sub-continental hockey?

The no off-side rule suits fast players and as far as I know, India and Pakistan produce the fastest players in the world. So, it is very unfair to say that we are framing rules for the benefit of the Europeans.