“Restore IHF… Give hockey its due,” this was the slogan of the 28 state associations who came together on Wednesday, demanding the holding of elections to the dissolved Indian Hockey Federation by the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) ad-hoc committee as early as possible.
Led by Bengal Hockey Association president, JB Roy, the list included officials from Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, AP, Bihar, MP, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Goa, Vidarbha, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Gujarat, Port Blair, Kerala, Indian Universities, UP, Jharkhand and Punjab. Apart from these associations, four more undisclosed units have also ‘offered’ their support. “There are 60 national federations under IOA; I don't know why they are taking so much interest in hockey,” said an angry Roy.
Roy, who said hockey in the country was going through its worst ever phase, also demanded urgent measures to improve the standard of game. “The national game needs a democratic body to run its administration. The only purpose of this meet is to demand the ad-hoc committee to conduct elections. We congratulate the IOA for suspending the KPS Gill regime. The ad-hoc committee was formed only for a certain period," said Roy.
Incidentally, Roy is also the deputy managing-director of Sahara India group and the younger brother of its chairman, Subroto Roy. Sahara is also the prime sponsors of the Indian hockey team. "I am new to this administration, but I will try to promote the game in the country. If I have to take the name of Sahara to push matters, I won't hesitate," said Roy.
J&K association president, Narinder Batra, called the meeting a 'complete sham' and charged the members with making the game a 'saleable object'. Strangely, the secretary, Jagjit Singh, was present at the meeting. "I don't know why Batra gave such comments. The secretary is here. Batra is always hungry for publicity, so this may be another of his act," said Roy.
The members will meet Sports Minister MS Gill and IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi on Thursday.