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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

31st Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar All India hockey tournament: Hockey suffers as blame game takes centre field

The tournament started on the wrong foot since day one as after two days (August 30 and 31), the tournament was halted for next two days.

pune Updated: Sep 08, 2019 16:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Pune
To conduct the tournament, the organisers need prior permission from Hockey India. As the organisers sought permission between the event, Hockey India declined their request.
To conduct the tournament, the organisers need prior permission from Hockey India. As the organisers sought permission between the event, Hockey India declined their request.(HT image)
         

It was expected that 28 teams will be seen in action during the 31st Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar All India hockey tournament which commenced at August 30 at Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi. Only six teams turned up.

The tournament started on the wrong foot since day one as after two days (August 30 and 31), the tournament was halted for next two days.

Reason:

Organisers had not taken permission from Hockey India (HI) to conduct the all India hockey tournament. On September 3, the tournament resumed, but it was termed illegal as Hockey India has denied permission to organisers.

To conduct the tournament, the organisers need prior permission from Hockey India. As the organisers sought permission between the event, Hockey India declined their request.

In all the mess, the tournament is still going on with six teams -- Itarsi, Madhya Pradesh; Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh; Bhopal; Chandigarh; Royal Hockey Hyderabad and Uttar Pradesh.

Sharad Roch, the tournament director, claimed that “the Pune team did not participate in the tournament owing to pressure from Hockey Maharashtra”.

About the tournament being termed illegal, Roch said, “Hockey Maharashtra already granted us the permission and I was given no clarification or explanation as to why the request was rejected by Hockey India. Hockey India has spoken to the media, but they have not explained anything to us. We wanted to follow the correct protocol by approaching Hockey Maharashtra first and then forward our request through them to Hockey India.”

Manoj Bhore, Hockey Maharashtra secretary, denied the claims made by the tournament director.

“We alerted organisers that they have not followed the guidelines. The tournament is illegal since it flouted the protocol and Hockey India will take action,” Bhore said.

Stand of Siddharth Shirole

Siddharth Shirole, Pune Municipal Coporation corporator, has sanctioned ₹10 lakh for the ongoing tournament. “We sanctioned money to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Trust which is hosting hockey tournaments since last 31 years. Our aim is to promote hockey.

“The organisers had earlier given the permission, but later denied it because of internal politics in hockey association. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has sanctioned the money, but it will only be provided once the organisers submit the bills to the civic body,” Shirole said.

Players ask media to not click pictures

The teams taking part in the tournament have requested the media to not take their pictures fearing action against them. “Sir, please don’t click our pictures as we have come to play in the tournament without permission,” a player on condition of anonymity said.

Players speak

Internal conflicts rule the game of hockey in this country. Players are not being prioritised and they are suffering amidst the internal conflict between organisers, state and the national association. Not a lot of hockey tournaments take place in the nation, and when they do, it is clouded by these trivial clashes between the aforementioned entities. The players want to play and some organisers are genuinely interested to give them a platform to play on. This tournament, which has been deemed “illegal” has been the best tournament our team has participated in. The accommodation, food and facilities which have been provided to us have been brilliant. If this tournament was held under Hockey India, most of the budget would have been for the umpires. Hockey India’s absence is the main reason we are enjoying the tournament.

A participant

Hockey Maharashtra invited our team to play in the tournament. We received a letter and that is why we came to play. I don’t understand why these legality issues are surfacing now. We have just come to play hockey, and I don’t want to dig in deeper into the problem between the organiser and the association. All I can say is that we came to play because our team received the invitation letter from the Hockey Maharashtra. We have players who are affiliated with Hockey India, but still they played.

First Published: Sep 07, 2019 19:35 IST

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