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Negre unlikely to visit India

In the wake of the ongoing battle of supremacy between the different factions of Indian hockey over Hockey India, the International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre is likely to postpone his proposed two-day visit to India next week, reports Sharad Deep.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2009 00:03 IST
Sharad Deep

In the wake of the ongoing battle of supremacy between the different factions of Indian hockey over Hockey India, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre is likely to postpone his proposed two-day visit to India next week.

Sources said Negre was supposed to finalise deals for 2010 World Cup in India during his visit on June 25 and 26.

But some companies that have been approached for sponsoring the World Cup have shown reluctance because of the current economical scenario and some ‘drama’ by a group opposing Hockey India, sources claimed, could be the reasons behind Negre’s reluctance. However, FIH communications manager Arjen Meijer claimed Negre’s visit to India is neither confirmed nor cancelled. “At this stage no visit from the FIH President has been confirmed or cancelled. The FIH President will definitely visit India in the coming weeks/months, but because of his very busy travelling schedule to different FIH and continental events, no decision of the timing of the next visit has been made,” he told HT in an email.

One reason why officials were expecting some trouble during Negre’s visit is the apparent U-turn by FIH over recognition accorded to Hockey India. The rival group claims that FIH has violated previously stated conditions while giving recognition to Hockey India last week.

“Hockey India people put pressure on FIH to grant recognition, otherwise it wasn’t possible for them to form single state bodies across the country,” said an IOA official on condition of anonymity.

FIH secretary general Peter L Cohen, in his letter to IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi on June 4 (a copy of which is in possession of HT), set the pre-condition for recognition. “We trust you will be forming single state hockey bodies for both men and women as well as for the smooth running of hockey in the states. The new state associations have to be formally accepted as members of Hockey India.

“Immediately after we receive your confirmation that this has happened, then FIH will formally recognise Hockey India as the sole governing body for hockey, men and women, in India,” says his letter. The IOA sources, however, claimed that FIH changed its stand only after being informed of the complexities involved.