The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) sounded the death knell on Friday for the Indian Hockey Federation and the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation as independent bodies, while ending confusion over the hosting rights of the 2010 World Cup and Ric Charlesworth’s association with Indian hockey as technical consultant.
The FIH officially allotted the 2010 World Cup to India and also avoided complications in the future by awarding the hosting rights to the IOA instead of the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC), the body comprising IHF and IWHF.
The 2010 World Cup was provisionally awarded to the IHC last year and the FIH even announced in March this year that it was looking for alternate hosts even while giving more time to the IHF to fulfill certain commitments for development of the sport in the country.
“The provisional (conditional) status of the 2010 World Cup is over. The rights have been given to the IOA. Whatever profits — and there will obviously be gains from it and we expect it to generate tremendous response in India — will be pumped back into Indian hockey,” said FIH president Els van Breda Vriesman.
The FIH was led by its president while IOA president, Suresh Kamladi, led the Indian side as chairman of the IHF ad hoc committee.
As per the agreement, the ad hoc body accepted Ric’s resignation, ending his association with Indian hockey as its technical consultant.
“Ric Charlesworth’s resignation has also been accepted and he is no longer the technical advisor of Indian hockey. The Project Promoting Indian Hockey will, however, continue so as to help the IOA revive Indian hockey,” said van Breda Vriesman.
She said Charlesworth had fulfilled his role towards development of Indian hockey and it was now for the IOA to chart the future course of the game’s revival.
Kalmadi announced the FIH and IOA had reached an agreement on promoting hockey in India and the world body had principally agreed to allot India the men’s Champions Trophy either in 2010 or 2011 subject to fulfillment of sponsorship and other arrangements and also a women’s tournament next year.
One sport, one body
As per the agreement, the IOA will provisionally recognise the IHC and confirm the status officially after ratification from its general assembly in November. The official recognition will end the existence of IHF and IWHF and the IHC will be finally replaced by a new body called Hockey India and all the state associations, with both the men’s and women’s bodies merged into one, will be affiliated to the new body.
The major beneficiary in all this was the IOA, which will organise the World Cup at Delhi in 2010 jointly with the FIH and will also have a major say in the running of the sport in the country till Hockey India comes into existence.
Though van Breda Vriesman refused to say anything about the suspension of the IHF committee led by K.P.S. Gill and K. Jothikumaran by saying that a new beginning had been made and she did not want to dwell on the past, the move was a clear snub to Gill and his style of functioning as nothing had changed in Indian hockey during his tenure.
The fact that the FIH has readily allotted the tournament officially to the IOA proves that it was frustrated with Gill’s style of functioning.
Though the IOA’s suspension of the IHF has got the FIH’s approval, the official recognition of the IHC and its metamorphosis into Hockey India faces roadblocks in the form of a court case filed by Gill and his associates and opposition from state associations for merger of the men’s and women’s bodies.
The World Cup will be held in February 2010 as a test event for Commonwealth Games. The exact dates will be announced later.