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IOA refuses any action against IHF for hockey debacle

Randhir Singh was in no mood to put the blame on the IHF and even went to say that calling for anybody's head to roll will serve no purpose.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2008 07:13 PM IST

Refusing to blame the Indian Hockey Federation for the national team's failure to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in eight decades, the Indian Olympic Association on Friday ruled out any drastic action against the IHF after the debacle.

IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh said the national Olympic body and the IHF will have a meeting next week to take stock of the debacle after India lost to Great Britain in the final of qualifying tournament in Chile which led to nationwide clamouring of IHF President KPS Gill's head.

Randhir Singh was in no mood to put the blame on the IHF and even went to say that calling for anybody's head to roll will serve no purpose.

"We are hurt and ashamed. Hockey is our national sport and we failed to qualify for Olympics. But it is not right to blame the IHF or for that matter any individual for the debacle. It is a collective failure and we have to find out what went wrong," said Singh at a press conference here.

"It is a wake-up call, but what is the point of asking somebody to resign. By doing that India is not going to qualify for the Olympics. It is over now.

"A Jothikumaran or a Gill is not responsible for the loss. The team did not play well (against Great Britain). I am not blaming the players, but we have to see why the team did not play well," he said.

"(IOA President) Kalmadi, myself, the IOA technical member and IHF officials will have a meeting next week and will look into what went wrong and take corrective action."

On persistent query from the journalists why IHF chief KPS Gill has been running the show for so long without getting results on the field, Singh made it clear that the IOA would not wield the stick on the federation.

"IHF is a democratically elected body and there is no question of IOA telling who should resign and who should be elected. But, we are running away from taking action. We will see whether the IHF has slip up somewhere or not, but don't pre-empt the matter," a belligerent Randhir responded to media queries whether there is any plan to disaffiliate IHF.

Singh also said that International Hockey Federation chief Els van Breda Vriesman had called him up from Jordan (where she was attending a conference) expressing his disappointment at India failing to qualify and discuss with IHF why it happened.

"She called me up from Jordan on the day India lost to Great Britain. That is why we are having a meeting with the IHF to look into what went wrong," he said.

FIH had warned a few days back that India could miss out on hosting the 2010 men's hockey World Cup if it was not satisfied with the steps taken to revive the game in the country.

Singh refused to be drawn into the controversy of Technical Advisor Ric Charlesworth not being taken in the loop, saying the Australian was recommended by the IHF and it was their call what to do from him.

"Of course, we were involved in Charlesworth's appointment but we can't tell IHF and at whet level he should be involved," he said.

Randhir would not agree to any government interference even at this hour of crisis.

"When the coach was selected there were three members from the Sports Ministry. The chief coach has a big say in the selection of the team, but the Sports Secretary cleared the team. It (government) was also involved, so it is a collective failure," he said.

On the fate of Carvalho whose resignation had still not be accepted by the federation, Randhir said, "National Federations have a system in place for such matters. We do not interfere in such matters," he said.

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