Jul 26, 2011

IHF-HI agreement: Mockery of Indian hockey

After a long wait of more than 1 year, Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India have decided to 'work' together on a temporary basis till December 2011. The attempts of merger by Sports Ministry between Hockey India and Indian Hockey federation has failed and both the parties will 'work' with each other for the betterment of the Indian Hockey.

As per the agreement between IHF and HI, an executive committee of 39 members will be formed which will look into four aspects of the game like team preparation, team selection, participation of team in international tournaments and conducting national championships. There will also be a Working Committee of 8 members (four from each board) which will take all the decisions. The working committee will have 2 chairmen, having equal powers, one from each board who will take the decision on the above aspects of the game.

The agreement between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation only looks good on paper. And the agreement has brought more question than the answers. The first question that comes out of this is how can two different boards run the game together? And how can we expect them to work together for the next year and half if they could not sort out their differences in the last 1 year and merge to form a single body? The new joint-venture will have problems of ideology even before they sit for their first meeting.

The new board will take care of selection and participation in the international tournaments but who will take care about the compensation to the players which is one of the biggest concern in Indian hockey. Hockey India has not paid the dues to the players for a long time and the team went on strike during the World Cup preparation camp. If this problem is not solved what will the board do in the future and who will take the responsibility of compensating the players.

According to the agreement IHF and HI will continue to fight on the sidelines to be the sole representative of Indian Hockey, what is the guarantee that the boards will still work together in case of any further dispute. Hockey India also intends to bring its premier league by the year 2012-2013 to take on World Series Hockey. So what will happen to World Series Hockey or the league by Hockey India if one of them loses the authority of Indian hockey? Also what will happen if the boards merge together? Will India have two leagues run by the same board? Won't this decision create more disputes among Indian hockey?

Also, the forgotten hockey of India, the women's hockey needs more resources like a new coach and coaching staff after the dismal performance of the team in Champions Challenge I. Will any board take care of it? As per the new agreement the new committee will only look after the four aspects of the game. Who will look after the grass-root development of the game?

This new arrangement is only going to cause more bane to already problematic relation between Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India. It is time for the Ministry of Sports to end this joke between IHF and HI and form a new body with businessmen and hockey lovers and not some politicians whose only dream is to cling on the chair for rest of their life.

In the beautiful words of Harsha Bhogle, 'If Indian Hockey Federation didn't do anything for Indian hockey, Hockey India neither, so why are we thinking of merger'

P.S- Bharti chief Sunil Mittal was supposed to be the head of the merged body. How can a group of politicians allow someone like Sunil Mittal who does not know anything about hockey run the game

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