The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has suffered a big setback in its attempt to organise the 63rd Senior National Championships as the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has refused to permit the use of its astro-turfs in Bhopal and New Delhi for the tournament.
SAI has cited various reasons for denying the use of its facilities. The IHF had entrusted the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Madhya Pradesh the task to organise the tournament at SAI’s Regional Centre in Bhopal from July 8-14. One phase of the tournament, comprising eight teams, was to be held in Delhi from July 4-8 for which the Delhi and District Hockey Association had sought ground No. 2 at the National Stadium.
In his response to the IHF, RK Naidu, Regional Director, SAI Regional Centre, Bhopal, cited pre-occupation with camps for the Commonwealth and Asian Games as the reason for denying them the facilities.
But for a similar request from the MP government, SAI cited the current imbroglio in Indian hockey for the refusal. Naidu said SAI had been asked to keep away since the Hockey India (HI) elections are scheduled in July. HI has declared the tournament illegal.
An IHF source said SAI had cited security concerns and lack of permission from Delhi Police as reasons for denying use of the National Stadium turf. Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry has also stopped institutional teams like Railways, Air India, Indian Oil Corporation etc from taking part in the Nationals, deeming it illegal, owing to the dispute with Hockey India.
From SAI’s response, it is clear the ministry is following in letter and not in spirit the Delhi High Court order that had termed the suspension of IHF by the ministry and the Indian Olympic Association as illegal.
Hockey electionS on July 28
Following another warning from the international hockey federation (FIH), Hockey India on Tuesday announced it would hold the oft-postponed elections for its first managing committee in New Delhi on July 28. Hockey India had thrice postponed elections in the last eighth months because of problems with affiliations.