Indian hockey is never far from controversy. The ad-hoc committee set up for the management of Indian hockey is headed for a messy legal tangle with its main sponsor. The reason: Strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to want the money due to it.
The Leisure Sports Management Private Limited (LSM), the sports management group of the Sahara India Pariwar, sent a legal notice to the ad hoc committee because the Indian players at the ongoing Punjab Gold Cup 4-nation tournament at Chandigarh are not wearing the Sahara logo on their T-shirts.
An eight-year contract (worth approximately Rs 20 crore) was signed by LSM on behalf of Sahara with the Indian Hockey Federation in April 2004, which requires both the senior and junior India teams have to wear the company logo on their outfits.
Even after the suspension of KPS Gill-led IHF in April 2008, the Indian hockey teams wore the branded kits in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament (Malaysia), the Test Series against Argentina, the Junior Asia Cup at Hyderabad and the 4-nation tournament in Australia.
Ad hoc committee convener Mohd Aslam said he had no information about the legal notice as yet but they had “not been given any sponsorship money”. LSM chairman & managing director SS Dasgupta had a different take. He said that despite repeated reminders to the ad hoc committee, no one had bothered to take the sponsorship money. “So now we have decided to send a legal notice to the ad hoc committee for breach of contract,” said Dasgupta. “We have been chasing them to give them the money for the last eight months."
While Dasgupta believed that the ad-hoc committee’s reluctance to accepting contracted sponsorship money made no logical sense at all, an unperturbed Aslam would just say that they were welcome to send a legal notice. “Our lawyers will take up the matter," he added.