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Ministry opposes FIH diktat

New Delhi: The future of Indian hockey teams’ participation in any international event looked doubtful on Monday with the Union ministry of sports and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) backing different groups as the national federation of the sport in India.

While the IHF president Leandro Negre made it clear that they were in no mood to accept the KPS Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) as the parent body, the sports ministry said it would not allow Hockey India (HI) to select or field national teams any more.

The power struggle could have a direct effect on the Indian women’s hockey team that would be taking part in the World Cup later this month. Negre said only a team selected by HI would be accepted in the meet.

Requesting the ministry to honour the FIH decision, Negre said in a letter: “We (FIH) reiterate that we have already recognised Hockey India as the recognised body for management, control and promotion for hockey in India, duly recognised by the IOA, based on the Olympic movement, charter and FIH statutes.”

Negre also pointed out the international body would not deal with the IHF, which was de-recognised in 2000 for being in complete non-compliance of FIH statutes and regulations.

The ministry had earlier de-recognised HI and replaced the new-elected body with the IHF as per court order.

The reply from the ministry that came within hours of Negre’s letter, once again reiterated that HI, which was declared as a private body, would not be accepted as the national federation. It has also assured the FIH that IHF and erstwhile Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) have been asked to merge as a single unit, a process that is expected to be completed within eight to 12 weeks.

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