International hockey federation CEO Jason McCracken quits after sponsors shy away

Seven months ago, Jason McCracken had grand plans to change the face of world hockey after taking over from Kelly Fairweather as CEO of international hockey federation. But 10 months later, he had, it is learnt, become a casualty of circumstances.

other sports Updated: Dec 21, 2017 20:08 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
International hockey federation,Jason McCracken,FIH
Jason McCracken quit as the CEO of the international hockey federation.(FIH/Twitter)

That India holds the purse strings of international hockey, much like international cricket, was made amply clear when the international hockey federation (FIH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jason McCracken quit earlier this week, reportedly for not being able to find a title sponsor for the Pro Hockey League.

Seven months ago, McCracken had grand plans to change the face of world hockey. He took over from Kelly Fairweather in February this year, but 10 months later --- and with FIH unable to scout for a sponsor for the six-month long event --- he had, it is learnt, become a casualty of circumstances. The FIH is headed by former Hockey India and current Indian Olympic Association chief.

READ | Pakistan men’s hockey coach resigns following team’s poor show

The FIH had announced its ambitious plan to hold the home-and-away world competition in June and it is expected to kick off in January 2019. But, despite all efforts, the world body has neither been able to zero in on a title sponsor or a travelling partner.

It’s majorly because, in recent times, India have become the main source of sponsorship. And with Hockey India deciding to withdraw from the Pro Hockey League, the sponsors have virtually vanished.

The FIH CEO had recently said that the doors are open for India, indicating that he was desperately looking at India to come on board. “Hockey is strong when India is around,” he had said on the sidelines of the just-concluded Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

READ | Indian women’s hockey team skipper Rani Rampal eager for more success

But Hockey India has not shown interest. “We have decided not to compete,” said HI secretary-general Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

Hockey India withdrew as it felt the global competition will not help its men’s and women’s teams earn a berth to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. India were replaced by Spain (men) and Belgium (women), respectively.

When he took charge, McCracken, a former FIH technical official from New Zealand, had said: “FIH plans to generate $150 million in four years from the Pro League. We also expect the League to catch the fancy of fans around the world.”

READ | No bilateral sports ties with Pakistan, says newly elected IOA boss Narinder Batra

FIH president Narinder Batra said the process of appointing a new CEO is on, adding that McCracken will continue till June.

On the issue of FIH still hunting for a title sponsor for the League, he said, “The procedure is on. There is lot of time. The league will start in 2019. The issue will be sorted out.”

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 20:08 IST