News for 28 January 2010

All the news for THursday 28 January 2010


Kookaburras on track for World Cup after dominating Korea in Hobart

The Kookaburras have carried their 2009 good form into the new year, defeating Korea 5-1 in their first game of 2010 in Hobart tonight in the first of a three test series.

After winning the 2009 Champions Trophy on home soil in Melbourne last December, the Kookaburras entered this series with form on their side.

With the 2010 World Cup only a month away, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth was keen to put his team through their paces against a quality opposition in Korea.

However despite Korea being ranked 5th in he world, the Kookaburras controlled the match from beginning to end, sending ominous warning signs to their opposition at next month’s World Cup in New Delhi, India.

In what was the Kookaburras first match in Tasmania since 2005, the team didn’t disappoint the crowd early, controlling the ball in their half for most of the match.

With the Korean defence holding tight, the Kookaburras patiently worked the ball around their circle, eventually finding the dangerous Des Abbott alone at the top of the circle. Abbott made no mistake, making Korea pay for giving him so much room and scored the Kookaburras first goal at the 17 minute mark.

The Kookaburras defence also proved to be switched on, cutting off several fast break attempts by the Koreans in the first half, with goalkeeper Ross Meadows keeping a clean sheet in the first half.

Abbott continued to be a presence near the goals for the Kookaburras, however despite the Kookaburras dominance, they were unable to score another goal in the first half.

Determined to transfer their dominance to the scoreboard, the Kookaburras showed no mercy in the early stages of the second half. With regular flicker Luke Doerner missing from the squad due to injury, fellow Victorian Chris Ciriello stepped up to take a penalty corner at the 40 minute mark, giving the Kookaburras their second goal.

The Kookaburras further extended their lead only minutes later, with three time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer scoring the simplest of goals after youngster Glenn Simpson caused a turnover further up the field.

From here the flood gates had opened, with Eddie Ockenden and Russell Ford scoring to extend the Kookaburras dominance to 5-0.

A late goal to Korea at the 69 minute mark gave them some reward for their effort.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth praised his team, although conceded that he was unhappy to have allowed Korea to score so late in the game.

“I think it was a solid performance, although I obviously don’t like it when any team scores against us. I think the match was actually much closer than the scoreboard will show. I was pleased that we debuted yet another player in Kieran Govers and that he played well,” said Charlesworth.

The Kookaburras will face Korea again in game two of the series on Saturday 30 January.

Goals

Aus
Abbott 17m FG, Ciriello 40m PC, Dwyer 42m FG, Ockenden 46m FG, Ford 61m FG
Kor Yoon 69m FG

Hockey Australia media release



Much at stake as India hosts hockey World Cup in a month

NEW DELHI: Exactly a month from now, the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in the Indian capital will host the World Cup hockey, a championship involving top 12 hockey playing nations in an event that has been dubbed as the dress rehearsal for the mega sporting event in October, the Commonwealth Games.

It is after 28 years that India would be hosting the hockey World Cup, a far cry from the days when they were among the top hockey-playing nations of the world, having last won the Cup way back in 1975.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is serious with the promotion of the World Cup. Infact, it will be a test event for FIH for many such big hockey tournaments in near future. They have already tied up with corporates like Hero Honda and SAIL as commercial partners of the event.

FIH chief Leandro Negre has time and again underlined India's importance in the hockey world.

"The World Cup will act as a catalyst for Indian hockey. We know that the sport has a huge following in the country and we just have to promote hockey in the right way. This event will serve as a new beginning," says Negre.

Much is riding on the success of the tournament, considering that it comes just eight months before the Commonwealth Games and that questions have been raised about India's ability to host the mega-event in October.

But events of the past few weeks, like the postponement of Hockey India (HI) elections and the players revolt over non-payment of dues, have shown the country's hockey organisers in poor light.

The Major Dhyanchand National Stadium, named after one of India's hockey 'wizards', has been refurbished at a cost of Rs 262 crore ($57 million). It encompasses 36 acres in the heart of New Delhi and was the venue for the first Asian Games in 1951.

Hockey India's new general secretary Narendra Batra says the federation is all geared up to showcase India. "We are aware of the responsibility that it is one of the biggest sporting event of an Olympic discipline and we have to showcase India in front of the world," Batra said.

"The election issue is separate. Our preparations are going on at full pace. The governing body for the event, constituting members of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), FIH and HI, are taking care of the everything."

"The lodging, transport and ticketing arrangements have been made. Some of the teams are directly in touch with the hotels because they want food of their choice. We will soon announce the names of the outlets and banks from where tickets can be bought." "We are not leaving anything as far as the promotion of the event is concerned. We have already started to show the advertisements and more television commercials will come up in the coming days. We are sure that it is going to be one of the best organised events in India."

Hockey aficionados have no doubt that the fare will be excellent what with Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Spain and South Korea in the fray.

Beijing Olympic gold medal winners Germany will be aiming to become the first team to make it a hat-trick of World Cup titles. Champions Trophy winners Australia, Beijing Olympics silver medallists Spain and new Asian giant South Korea will make for exciting matches. And you can never write off four-times World Champions Pakistan.

Interestingly, India are placed alongside Pakistan in the same group and the two fiercest rivals will turn back the clock when they meet on the very first day of the tournament under floodlights.

"We hope that the match will be the best match of the tournament," says Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf.

Even the organisers would hope so for the success of the tournament.

The Times of India

 



Hockey coach confident of place in World Cup semi-finals

By M. Shafique Raja


ISLAMABAD, Jan 26 (APP): Pakistan hockey team coach Shahid Ali Khan insists that his charges would make their presence felt in the World Cup and Pakistan will go all out for a place in the semi-finals of the quadrennial spectacle, starting in New Delhi at the end of next month. “Our team’s morale is high after a series of good showings in the recent past and I hope that we will be able to reserve a berth in semi-finals of the mega event,” he said talking to APP on Wednesday.

Pakistan reached the Asian Cup final in Kuantan (Malaysia) last summer and then defeated European champions England in a three-match Test series in England. The green shirts also emerged victorious in the eight-nation World Cup qualifiers in Lille (France), but they lost the final of the Champions Challenge in Salta (Argentina) to New Zealand, in December last year.

Pakistan also performed well against Netherlands in the two-match Test series, played at the neutral venue of Doha, Qatar last week and held both the fixtures draw.

“All these performances have boosted the morale of our boys and they look hungry for more wins,” he said.

Shahid, a former Olympian, was of the view that there would be a lot of pressure on his boys in the first fixture of the World Cup as it would be against arch-rival, Indians. “There will be a lot of pressure on our team in that match as we will be playing against them at their homeground,” he said.

However, he said he was sure if Pakistan play their natural game they would be victorious. He said the match against Indians would be very crucial and a win in that would help pave way for further wins.

The Pakistan coach said that Pakistan were a better side than their arch-rivals. “We have been playing good hockey for quite some time and I am confident that we will do much better in New Delhi,” he added.

He said that training for the World Cup had already started and besides improving the fitness level of players, special focus was being paid on telling them how to plug loopholes in their defence.

Shahid said that forwardline was doing well adding, “the good thing is that our forwardline has started scoring field goals.”

He said Pakistan were playing against Netherlands after three years and they scored five field goals out of six, which was quite encouraging. “But we are not content with that only and would equally focus on training our forwardline during the training camp,” he added.

Associated Press of Pakistan



PHF seeks security permission for World Cup Hockey

ISLAMABAD, Jan 27 (APP): Pakistan Hockey Federation has sought advice and security clearance from the government to send its team to New Delhi for the World Cup which begins from February 28. According to PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa ,”the Federation is seeking security clearance from the government ministries as it has concerns over playing in India.”

“We just want to be sure and assured that our team can concentrate on the tournament without having any security concerns ,” Bajwa said.

He said as per procedure the federation had asked interior and foreign ministries to give clearances.

Bajwa said there was also a suggestion that a special security unit should accompany the team during its stay in India for World Cup.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Pakistan should boycott Hockey World Cup in India: Islah


KARACHI, Jan 27, (APP): Former Pakistan Captain and Olympian, Islahuddin Siddiqui has called for boycotting the upcoming Hockey World Cup to be staged in India next month. “Because of strained Indo-Pak relations and security threats from different extremist group in India, will put Pakistan players under pressure,” he told APP here on Wednesday.

“Sports-loving public of both the neighboring countries are eager to see their stalwarts in action but a few elements across the borders trying to sabotage sporting ties,” he commented.

“In such a scenario it will be very difficult for our players to concentrate and excel,” he reckoned.

“Pakistan is definitely showing signs of improvement but performing well under adverse conditions can be very difficult for them,” he maintained.

12-nation International Hockey Federation World Cup will be held at New Delhi from February, 28 to March, 11. Four-times Champions Pakistan are scheduled to take on arch-rival India in the inaugural match of the championship.

He questioned when franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) had not picked Pakistani cricketers because of security fears, under such circumstances how they would provide security to big Pakistan hockey contingent.

Islahuddin, who  served as Pakistan team coach and manager, said like him, Pakistan Hockey Federation was also showing security apprehensions.

“Not picking Pak cricketers in IPL auction has sent a negative message in sub-continent and the world, which show conditions are not conducive to play in India,” he added.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Penang side abort boycott, agree to play q-finals in KL

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Penang’s Nur Insafi have changed their mind and will play the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) two-leg quarter-final tie against Sapura in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, said that they received a letter from Nur Insafi coach S. Tatchana Murthy yesterday afternoon stating that they had agreed to play both the matches away at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and on Sunday.

Nur Insafi had wanted to boycott the knockout stage of the competition if they did not get to play one of the quarter-final matches at home at the USM Stadium. They informed the MHF of their decision on Monday night after the fixtures for the knockout stage were released.

Hashim added that the MHF technical committee agreed to accept their withdrawal on Tuesday with Sapura getting a free ride into the semi-finals.

“We also made new fixtures, involving only three quarter-finals matches. But we are happy that Nur Insafi had changed their mind and will play in the quarter-finals as scheduled,” he said.

“They spent a lot of money hiring foreign players and it will be waste if they withdrew from the competition for the overall title,” said Hashim.

Nur Insafi are the only team with foreign players. They had 15 of them in their ranks but finished a disappointing fifth in the six-team Premier Division.

For both legs of the quarter-final ties, one of the four matches will be played at the KL Hockey Stadium and the rest will be held at the Tun Razak Stadium.

The other quarter-final ties will see league champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) up against Divi­sion One runners-up Armed Forces-Airod; Maybank against UniKL-IBIL; and Tenaga Nasional against Division One champions UiTM.

The two-leg semi-finals ties will be played on Feb 5 and 6 and the final is scheduled for Feb 12 at the Tun Razak Stadium.

The Star of Malaysia



Former champs Maybank desperate to regain bite

KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Maybank are desperate to find answers to get back on the winning track in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

They finished third in the six-team Premier League but had just one win to show in the last seven of 10 matches. The competition for the overall title begins tomorrow and in the two-leg quarter-finals, Maybank will be up against UniKL-IBIL.

Maybank coach S. Vellapan said that their winning run ended in matches played outside KL as teamwork deserted them.

“I just cannot understand it. We have reviewed the performances and feel that we can overcome it. But it’s still a worrying time for us,” he said.

“UniKL are our opponents in the quarter-finals and I have warned my players against complacency. They are a young side capable of playing good hockey. They showed that in a fightback against us in the last match to snatch a 4-4 draw.”

To add to their woes, the Tigers have two key players down with hamstring injuries. And defender K. Gobinathan and utility player Hairul Nizam are doubtful starter for the quarter-final first-leg match.

“They are our penalty corner takers. To lose one is already a big blow but we may be without both of them. I have to reshuffle the line-up and it’s time for the younger players to rise to the occasion,” said Vellapan, whose side defeated UniKL 3-0 in the first round of the league.

In the last seven matches, the Tigers’ only win was against Nur Insafi (2-0). They drew four matches and were beaten by KLHC (1-3) and Tenaga Nasional (0-2).

Maybank will play the two quarter-final matches at the Tun Razak Stadium and Vellapan is happy that they will be back at their favourite venue.

“The Tun Razak Stadium is a good hunting ground for us. We have to regain our winning touch but there is no easy match at this stage of competition,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia



Young brace downs Malvern

Nigel Simon


Dominic Young scored a first-half double as Queen’s Park blanked Stag Malvern in its T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division Outdoor League opener on Sunday at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua. With defending champion, Defence Force securing a 6-3 win over Corona Fatima the day before, the pressure was on the Parkites and Malvern to follow suit.

Queen’s Park, league winner in 2007, showed it was up to the task and used a first-half penalty flick from Young and the other from field play, to take maximum points against another former league champion. It was the second win on the day for the Parkites, who earlier on had dispatched Police 8-1 in a Trinity Division Group A clash. Robert Mouttet led the way for the Tragarete Road-based side with three goals. Gary Griffith, Peter Kam, Dominic Young, his brother Daniel Young, and Gary Chin added one each. Glennon Foncette fired in the consolation item for the lawmen.

The day’s other match brought full points for Carib Magnolias in a 2-1 win over Petrotrin in the Trinity Women’s competition. Kelli O’Brien and Nicole Lee got a goal each for Magnolias to cancel out Jezel Cooper’s item. In Championship Division women’s action on Saturday, last year’s winner Magnolias stopped Notre Dame 4-2, and a double from Kelly-Marie Young, the youngest Young sibling, gave Ventures a 2-1 victory over Maritime Harvard Checkers. Matches resume Friday with Magnolias meeting Paragon in Women’s Championship action, from 7 pm, followed by a clash between Paragon and Malvern in the Veterans Division, from 8.45 pm.

The Trinidad Guardian



How women hockey players' protest began

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: It was at the national women's hockey camp in Bhopal a few days back that the team came to know about goalkeeper E Rajini's plight.

A newspaper report highlighting her father's kidney ailment had them rally round Rajini and raise Rs 20,000 for his surgery. A carpenter with an income of around Rs 3,000-5,000 a month, Rajini's father was in no position to meet the costs of treatment and surgery. Neither could anyone in her family - her distraught mother or her three siblings.

Still pursuing her commerce degree and with nobody to help, Rajini broke down before her teammates. "She told us that she had been informed about the ailment only a month back. Her family had hidden it from her for many months. She desperately needed money for surgery but no one, including her relatives, helped her," a player told TOI. The men's team had been handed over cheques by Hockey India (HI) after Rs 1 crore came from Sahara but the women were told there was not enough money for their achievements - winning the Champions Challenge-II and making the final of Asia Cup last year.

"We immediately collected Rs 20,000 for Rajini's father's treatment. That set us thinking: Why are we still playing hockey if it does not reward us for bringing glory to the nation? That's how the protest began."

Rajini's plight also gave the senior players the idea of opening a joint account in a Bhopal bank. Some people even called them greedy but a steady trickle since last week has seen the balance rise to Rs 3,09,000, including the Rs 2 lakh which the girls received from Yash Raj Films, producers of Chak de India.

Rajini is just one example of girls from the lowest strata of society dreaming of making it big in hockey. Beginning with state and Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports hostels, they effectively combine their academic and sporting careers in the hope that it will land them a berth in the national team and a job.

Seniors such as Mamta Kharb, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum and Binita Toppo, to name a few, may have battled adverse circumstances as they rose in stature but jobs have not always lifted the players from poverty and deprivation - low salaries and typical family demands leaving them with little to deal with emergencies.

In effect, the black armband protest, the demand for incentives and parity with men is essentially a distress signal from a team at its wit's end.

It is also a telling message to every Indian who thinks that sports begins and ends in that quadrangle called playfield: there is definitely life after the final whistle which demands a steady flow of money. This is the truth that officials have refused to acknowledge.

The examples of Sandeep Kaur and Rani Rampal will make things even clearer. Both the girls are in standard 12. Sandeep's father is a mechanic and depends on daily wages to make ends meet. He is suffering from a lung disease and that naturally means further pressure on his financial resources. Rani's father is a cart-puller who runs his family with the few rupees that he earns every day. Both the girls are unemployed.

"For girls such as Rani and Sandeep, money is of utmost importance. What is the point in clearing their dues at a later date or creating a fund to develop the game when they need the funds now?" asks goalkeeper Dipika Murthy, referring to the ministry's decision to form a corpus for the game from the money received from various sources.

There are more in the camp living in the hope that they will be given immediate financial relief. Each one of them is a high achiever on the field but racked by crippling poverty outside it.

Will they get their due in the long run?

The Times of India



Why Indian women hockey players are seeking money

Most national team players come from the lowest strata of society and are battling adverse circumstances. Here is a look as to why Indian women hockey players are seeking money:

 

NAME STATE PROBLEMS ACHIEVEMENTS
E Rajini Andhra Pradesh Father is a carpenter, now bed-ridden because of kidney failure. Mom doesn't work, siblings are in school. It's to help her out that the hockey players opened a bank account in Bhopal seeking donations. Rajini represents India, played in the 2009 series against NZ.
Roselyn Dung Orissa Father is a daily wage earner. She supports the family, including 2 younger siblings, with her Rs 10,000 salary as SE Railway employee. She was member of the India team that won the Champions Challenge-II.
Rani Rampal Haryana Her dad pulls a cart, mom doesn't work. One brother is a carpenter, the other a shop-hand. In the Olympic qualifiers, Rani (17) was adjudged young player of the tournament. Repeated feat at Champions Challenge-II where she was highest goal-getter and declared tournament's Best Young Player. Playing for India since 2008.
T Anuradha Devi Manipur Dad was a rickshaw puller, died in Nov 2008. Anuradha keeps her family together with a salary of Rs 10,000 as employee of Railway Coach Factory, Kapurthala. She has been representing India since 2006.
Sandeep Kaur Haryana Father is a mechanic, now down with a crippling lung disease. Mother doesn't work, brother in school. Played junior World Cup, matches in South Africa, Argentina.
Mukta Barla Orissa Father is a labourer. She takes care of a family of mother and three brothers with her salary of Rs 17,000 as NE Railway employee. Mukta has been playing for India since 2007. She was part of the gold medal winning team at Champions Challenge-II tournament in 2009.
Sulochana Kishan Orissa When her father died in 2001, her brother quit studies to work as a daily wage earner. She has a job with Central Railway which gives her Rs 10,000. Sulochana has been representing India since 2008

The Times of India



Ministry clears Rs 2 lakh each for women's hockey team

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: At last, it was pay day for the Indian women's hockey team. The players, who went on a black armband protest in Bhopal last week to turn the nation's attention towards their plight, will be richer by Rs 2 lakh on Thursday.

The Union sports ministry will pay the amount to all the players and team officials (numbering 50) at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bhopal on Thursday morning, team captain Surinder Kaur told TOI.

The ministry will be essentially distributing the Rs 1 crore received from the Madhya Pradesh government last week. Initially, the ministry had said that the contribution would help in the formation of a fund to develop women's hockey but apparently changed its mind once MP chief minister Shivraj Chouhan insisted that the money had to go the girls.

The Times of India



How to be a sport

BORIA MAJUMDAR,


The entire country continues to watch in horror as Indian hockey keeps plummeting to new lows with every passing week. First, it was players revolting against the powers-that-be, demanding better pay and a graded system of payments. Now it is an all-out war between former Olympian Pargat Singh and IOA president Suresh Kalmadi. Amidst all the mudslinging, one somewhat ignored but profoundly important comment had serious future ramifications for Indian hockey. It came from the International Hockey Federation vice-president, Antonio Von Ondarza, who was to oversee the February 7 elections now deferred for overtly political reasons for control of Indian hockey.

In a recent public debate, Ondarza threatened the players and suggested that their strike would find no sympathy among the FIH rank and file and that they would do well to get back to practice. Even Indian hockey officials were uncomfortable with a comment that had a clear stamp of power written all over it. Made in the run-up to the hockey federation elections, it signalled a clear case of interference by FIH in the internal matters of a country's federation. More, it was a throwback to the 1970s when FIH president Rene Frank acted similarly, heralding an unprecedented crisis in Indian hockey.

The striking similarity between the two cases isn't mere coincidence. In the 1970s too, Frank's interference came at a time when two factions in Indian hockey, led by M A M Ramaswamy and Ashwini Kumar, were fighting for control over India's national sport. In their desire to enlist the FIH's support, Indian administrators refused to protest the move to astro turf before the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

During a visit to Montreal in 1973, venue of the 1976 summer Olympics, the FIH president and other leading administrators realised the impossibility of organising the Olympic hockey competition. None of the grounds picked as possible venues was up to the mark. It was apparent the organisers weren't capable of making the grounds fit for play in the fickle Canadian climate. So, Montreal's mayor Drapeau and the vice-president of the Montreal Olympics Organising Committee came up with the idea of using an artificial turf pitch in place of the traditional grass surface. This, it was suggested, would enable the tournament to go on without hindrance.

The FIH, based on its president's highly favourable recommendation, consented in a few months to allow the tournament to be played on artificial turf. India did not raise even a feeble voice of protest. Having succeeded in gaining control of the Indian Hockey Federation with the FIH's full support, the administrators were in no mood to oppose the move even if it spelt doom for India. Indian star Ajit Pal Singh's statements about astro-turf being a "costly affair" fell on deaf ears. For the historian, the entire episode is a clue to the politics controlling Indian sport in the 1970s. Sadly, nothing seems to have changed as shown by the current imbroglio.

A temporary truce was recently arrived at with the men's team paid a crore at the initiative of Kalmadi. But it was apparent this was at best an ad hoc solution. First, this money can't be paid from Hockey India coffers. This explains the latter's inability to prevent the women's team from staging a revolt soon after. Again, the question remains as to why our administrators haven't till date corporatised the sport of hockey, sought sponsors, created stars out of the performers, injected value into the game and converted it into a profitable industry. The much-repeated argument that India's poor performance at the international level has pre-empted such an attempt is not entirely correct. When the Indian team won the gold at the Asian Games in 1998, an opportunity presented itself to our administrators, especially with cricket reeling under the match-fixing scandal at the turn of the millennium. But little was done to take advantage of the situation.

Also of concern is the way the current crisis has been handled. There's little doubt that pressure on the national team has increased with its demands fulfilled. A poor performance in the forthcoming world cup (if India is allowed to compete, that is) and critics will be out to label the players as overcome by greed and lacking patriotism. With India starting their campaign against Pakistan at a time bilateral relations have reached a new low, the players could have done without this increased pressure.

The question foremost in the minds of Indian sports enthusiasts is: what is the way forward for Indian hockey? Are we to persist with ad-hocism wherein states and corporates when confronted with a crisis dole out funds as a corrective? How long will former Olympians and sports administrators indulge in mud-slinging on national television? Maybe it is time for us to take a radical step and privatise the sport. Many entrepreneurs are waiting to pick up the baton and run with it it is time we use their services. Indian hockey deserves much better than what it gets at the moment.

The writer is senior research fellow, University of Central Lancashire.

The Times of India



Hockey can't be a great marketing property

Yes. Unlike Cricket, hockey peaked in pre-television/economic reform (free market) era in India. Indian hockey team have won 11 Olympic medals (8 Gold, 1 Silver & 2 Bronze) between 1928 and 1980, thrice finished in the top 3 in World Cup between 1971and 1975 and 12 medals in Asian Games between 1958 and 2002.

How many of these wins have we watched on television? If only half these medals were won post-1985, when significant number of households in India had access to TV sets and with economic reform kicking in, maybe hockey would have had a different story to tell. It would have had a whole new generation growing with it.

Cricket peaked in India post-World Cup win in 1983 and more so after wining the Benson Hedges Cup in 1985. Indian households were able to watch both these victories on television. The first time they were exposed to live cricket on television and rest is history. BCCI managing to successfully host the 1987 Cricket World Cup in India (first time it was hosted outside England) not only helped the game to scale new highs in terms of popularity but also led to emergence of India as new cricket power.

Hockey’s failure is also to do with lackluster administrators. They never had charismatic/able leaders who could think big and market the game better. Hockey lived on the past glory. As a game hockey has all the ingredients to make it a marketable sport. Short format, fast pace, mesmerising skills and so on.

Like Soccer, it’s a very exciting and marketable sport. In the current state of affairs, very few marketers will invest in the game and no broadcaster will be interested in acquiring the rights for the game. The future of hockey lies in managing to get a able leader who can help put the house in order and a team which can win World Cups and Olympic medals. The rest will follow.

The Economic Times



After Commonwealth Games, tax waiver for Hockey World Cup

HT Correspondent


After the Commonwealth Games, the Delhi government has decided to waive off taxes for the Hockey World Cup to be held from February 28-March 13 at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The government has decided to waive off all revenue collected as entertainment and luxury tax from the organisers of the tournament. This will cost the government exchequer Rs six crore.

Although the officials concerned were not keen on giving the waiver, the decision was left to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Hockey India representatives had met Delhi Chief Secretary, Rakesh Mehta, earlier this month demanding waiver of entertainment tax on tickets and luxury tax on hotel rooms to be booked for delegates.

Earlier this month, the Delhi cabinet had waived off luxury tax to the tune of Rs 30 crore on hotel rooms booked by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee for athletes, delegates, sport physicians and international mediapersons.

HI to appoint retired high court judge

Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it would appoint a retired High Court or Supreme Court judge as the Returning Officer for its elections.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah asked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and HI to file their response on how they were planning to conduct the election and suggest the name of the retired judge who could be appointed as their Returning Officer.

Meanwhile, the Centre informed the court that differences with HI have been sorted out after the sports body agreed to follow its suggestion on conduct of the election. The court was hearing a PIL questioning how the sports body is functioning and alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election.

The election, however, has been put on hold after the Rajasthan High Court last week restrained HI from conducting the exercise. The Centre had earlier approached the High Court challenging HI’s appointment of GS Mander.

Hindustan Times



HI polls: HC may appoint RO

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday hinted it might appoint a retired judge as the returning officer for the election of Hockey India (HI) in view of the controversy surrounding the appointments in the sports body.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah asked the lawyers for Indian Olympic Association and HI to seek instructions from their clients if they were willing to appoint a retired judge as observer to oversee the elections.

HC's poser came on an assurance by one of the lawyers for the sporting body that it was willing to put the election process to scrutiny. The court then asked them to file their response on how they were planning to conduct the election and suggest the name of a retired HC judge who could be appointed as their RO.

Meanwhile, the Centre also informed the court that differences with HI had been sorted out after the sports body agreed to follow its suggestion on conduct of the election. The court was hearing a PIL questioning the way in which the sports body was functioning and alleged irregularities in conduct of the election.

The election, however, has been put on hold after the Rajasthan High Court had last week restrained the HI from conducting the exercise. The Centre had earlier approached the HC challenging HI's recent appointment of G S Mander, vice president of IOA as RO for its election which was scheduled for February 7.

The Times of India



Reprieve for HI: Body not temporary, says HC

Kabir Mandrekar


In a reprieve for Hockey India (HI), the Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that the body could not be treated as a temporary, but was in fact a society registered under the law, competent to hold elections in accordance with the rules.

Hearing a petition that sought probe into functioning of various sports bodies and the appointment of independent election officers for conducting HI polls, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw refused to agree with the petitioner’s contention that HI was a temporary body constituted in last May only for a period of six months for the purpose of holding fair elections.

According to petitioner Rahul Mehra, because the tenure of the HI ended in last November and no constitution was finalised in this period, the legal competence of the body to conduct election was in question.

However, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok, appearing for the Centre, countered the argument and said that HI was a society registered under the Act concerned.

The ASG also submitted that the HI had affiliated 30 state federations and four other agencies for the polls.

The Bench then went through the relevant rules and documents and noted, “It is a misconception that HI was an interim body. Seven signatories were initially made its members and it is registered as a society under the laws.”

The court’s observation is significant, for a question over existence of HI was bound to have severe repercussions on its existence and functioning, let alone its power to conduct the election.

As of now, the elections that were scheduled for February 7 anyway stand postponed after a Rajasthan High Court stay order.

The Bench meanwhile asked all respondents — Ministry of Sports, IOA, HI and SAI — to file their affidavits by Monday detailing the way observers and returning officer for the election should be appointed. The authorities have also been asked to furnish a list of people deemed competent to act as observer and returning officer.

Confusion over Maharashtra hockey body’s affiliation

Pune: The Maharashtra State Olympic Association (MSOA) has said it is withdrawing the application for the affiliation of the Maharashtra Hockey Association with Hockey India on the grounds of discrepancies in documents. The MSOA alleged that documents provided over the merger of Mumbai Hockey Association with the Maharashtra body were forged. “The Mumbai Hockey Association had given false documents regarding the merger with the Maharashtra Association in August. On this discovery, the application for the affiliation has been withdrawn”, said Balasaheb Landge, secretary general of MSOA. Mumbai Hockey Association spokesperson Joaquim Carvalho said that the documents had been forwarded by the previous management, led by Kehar Singh. HI said that they hadn’t received any word yet, but would investigate it further. “The procedure of disaffiliation is complex and a decision can only be taken by Hockey India,” HI secretary general Narendra Batra said.

Indian Express



Affiliation incomplete, but disaffiliation starts!

s2h Team


Even as the affiliation process is not complete, the disaffiliation rot has set in.

It was expected.

The same forces that did want elections to be held now – because they did not enjoy majority in the presenty affiliated electoral college – are at it again.

Maharashtra unit, given affiliation, has been now stripped off by its State Olympic body.

Only three months ago the group led by Victor Ellis and Ikram Khan was given affiliation by the state body and was approved by the Hockey India. This unit names figures in the official website of Hockey India and the voters name from the unit is included in the voters list released by Sports Ministry.

Meanwhile the election process was halted abruptly on the stay order of Rajashtan High Court.

Now those in minority has got breathing space to manipulate. So, it is happening openly. A unit which was legal, has been now not so.

As the office bearers of Maharashtra unit, Ikram Khan was even asked to negotiate between Hockey India and the men's players who shunned practice sessions.

This strange case of disaffiliation has started with Maharashtra and it evokes keen interest and analysis. Because, this unit was responsible for denying nomination (voting right) to its state resident Suresh Kalmadi. This is what insiders claim, which denied opportunity for Kalmadi to contest Hockey India election. Kalmadi though has denied this in many interviews.

If one reads with what Pargat Singh recently claimed – Kalmadi wanted to become Hockey India president and is delaying the electoral process as he could not muster enough majority – the picture is clear.

Those state units who took strong stand with respect to their choice of Hockey India elections, like Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Punjab and others, have been put into enormous difficulty to retain their identity.

It was therefore the turn of Maharashtra unit to face the wrath of those in the seat of powers now. Now we will hear why the unit was disaffiliated, with different stake holders – state Olympic body, Hockey India officials – coming out with their own version, and everybody’s attempt will be confuse and compound the issues.

Because, there is no genuine heart-felt intension to conduct election! Not conducting election gives status quo advantage to those who are enjoying the seat of power right now, and who would want to vacate the seat? That too when it has come to them as a gift!

It remains to be seen how the listed electoral college can be tampered with now and what view the sports ministry would take.

What happened to Maharashtra is process reversal, blatant violation of ethics, and it is not good for early resolution of election tangle. It is going to open can of worms, leading to further chaos.

Stick2Hockey.com



MOA disaffiliates MHA, hockey body cries foul

NEW DELHI: In a new development which could further delay the much-awaited Hockey India elections, the Maharashtra Olympic Association on Wednesday disaffiliated the state hockey body, saying it had received written complaints against the MHA from different quarters.

MOA secretary Baba Sahib Langde said that the affiliation to MHA was given on a temporary basis and its the executive committee on Wednesday decided to withdraw the recognition after it had received complaints from other stakeholders of the game in the state, including Mumbai and Virdharba Hockey Associations.

"The affiliation to Victor Ellis-led MHA was a temporary one. But after we received complaints from Mumbai Hockey (men and women), Vidharbha and some factions of Maharashtra unit questioning as to how they were not recommended for HI affiliation, the MOA executive committee unanimously decided to withdraw the recommendation," Langde said.

"The EC's decision was placed before the MOA AGM today and the general body decided to withdraw the affiliation given to Victor Elias unit. We will be intimating our decision to HI soon," he said.

However, Maharashtra Hockey Association secretary Ikram Khan cried foul over the move and said the MOA did not give any reason for the move and simply restricted MHA president Victor Ellis from attending the AGM in Pune.

Ikram claimed that the MOA did not provide MHA anything in written regarding the decision. But according to sources, the extreme step is an aftereffect of the state hockey body's decision to deny nomination to IOA President Suresh Kalmadi to contest the HI elections.

"When our (MHA) president went to attend the AGM, he was asked why he was there and informed that we have been disaffiliated, but they didn't give any reason," Ikram said.

"It is really shocking. We have paid the affiliation fees to MOA and also got the receipt of the payment from them. It seems that they took decision after we didn't nominate Kalmadi from MHA, but we can't say anything with surety till we receive the papers," he added.

The move came three days after former captain and Hockey Punjab secretary Pargat Singh launched a scathing attack on Kalmadi, calling him a "sports mafia" who is trying to become the HI chief by hook or crook.

Pargat also blamed Kalmadi for postponing February 7 HI elections after the IOA chief failed to get nomination from MHA to contest the polls.

The Times of India



‘I could not make a difference so quit’

By Tushar Bhaduri in New Delhi


AFTER ending his long innings in sports administration, former Hockey India president AK Mattoo says he quit because he could no longer make a positive contribution to how things are run.

Mattoo, who was in the eye of the storm during the pay crisis involving the men hockey players, left the Hockey India post as well as the position of treasurer of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as well as the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, just days after the issue was resolved.

“I’ve had a 40- year stint in Indian sport and the younger lot should take over. I left because I felt I would not be able to make any change or difference. Anyone in my position would have done the same,” Mattoo told MAIL TODAY . His sudden departure led to a lot of speculation, but the veteran sports administrator would not dwell on the past. “I’m a retired person now and what has happened has happened. I want to be totally constructive now and won’t like to get into past events,” Mattoo said. “I’m not bitter at all and remain a sports lover. But now I will watch it from a distance without being in any official capacity.” Asked about a possible return to sports administration, Mattoo said:  As of now, I am holding no position, but one doesn’t know anything about the future.” A school of thought is that IOA president Suresh Kalmadi emerged as the saviour for striking players by distributing cheques to them. It showed Mattoo in poor light and he had no option but to go.

However, Mattoo said he held no grudges against Kalmadi.

The former Hockey India president felt the protesting players could have conducted themselves in a better manner during the row and they had a lot of explaining to do.

“I’m not saying that their demands were unjust. But it was hardly the right forum… just before the World Cup. You can’t just put forward a charter of demands and say ‘ decide right now’. These issues have to be analysed in detail and in totality. The government plays a key role in this,” Mattoo said.

The lessons learnt from the crisis should be taken on board to decide what can be done for the players. “We have to assess our shortcomings and analyse what should the players get and what should be the reward system.

The government has a major role here as they give most of the incentives. What should be the commitment of players should also be decided.” The process for the Hockey India elections has gone through a lot of turmoil recently but Mattoo, in whose tenure a lot of work on affiliation of state bodies was done, didn’t see anything objectionable.

“If anyone has a grievance it has to be openly discussed and appropriate steps taken. If the government and the International Hockey Federation don’t have a problem with the process, one doesn’t need to worry,” he observed. “ The process involved the merger of men’s and women’s bodies in all the states and it was bound to take time.

This is a passing phase and I’m sure the issues will be resolved.

The only thing is that the process should not get dirtier.”

JUDGE FOR POLLS


The Delhi High Court said on Wednesday it might appoint a retired judge as the returning officer for the elections. A bench headed by chief justice AP Shah asked the IOA and Hockey India to file their response on how they are planning to conduct the election and suggest the name of a retired high court judge for the returning officer.

DISAFFILIATED


The Maharashtra Olympic Association ( MOA) disaffiliated the state hockey body, saying it had received written complaints against the Maharashta Hockey Association.

MOA secretary Baba Sahib Langde said the affiliation to MHA was given on a temporary basis and was withdrawn after it receiving complaints from stakeholders.

Mail Today



Pargat continues his tirade against Kalmadi

CHANDIGARH: Continuing his tirade against Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi, former India captain and Hockey Punjab (HP) secretary general Pargat Singh said hockey administration in the country should be run like a corporate house.

"It should run like a business house, where whatever we generate should go in the right direction. Our players, coaches and other officials should get an appropriate share and there should be no desperation that eventually forces them to rebel," Pargat said.

Singh said Kalmadi's excessive interference in the work of Hockey India (HI) is totally unwarranted.

"We cannot let anybody run hockey using a remote control. It should be allowed to work as an independent body. Our national sport is suffocating in such environment. We want more autonomy, if we aim for better results in future," Singh said.

"We are associated with hockey for a long time and we cannot see this game go down like this. I have also appealed to my former colleagues and other hockey players to gather on a single platform to rescue this game," said Singh.

Pargat Singh, in a broadside Sunday aimed at Kalmadi, said the IOA president's ambition to head Hockey India has resulted in the hockey federation elections being repeatedly delayed.

The Times of India



Aslam slams Batra, says govt supporting hockey in a big way


NEW DELHI: Former Hockey India secretary general Mohammad Aslam on Wednesday slammed his successor Narinder Batra for attacking the government and said if not for the Sports Ministry, the ad-hoc body would have struggled to arrange finances for the national team's exposure trips last year.

Batra recently accused the Sports Ministry of encouraging groupism and creating pressure on HI to grant affiliation to Hockey Punjab, a statement which Aslam termed as "foolish and uncalled for".

"The statement of Mr Narinder Batra is absolutely rubbish. It was totally uncalled for and foolish to attack the Sports Ministry. From April last year to till now the Ministry has been supporting hockey in a big way," Aslam said from Saharanpur.

"It is because of the government's financial support we could send the national team to the exposure trips last year. All the money for the foreign trips came from the government barring Rs 65 lakhs which the Indian Olympic Association gave us as a loan and this money was utilised to accommodate extra players and support staff with the team," he said.

"We enjoyed very good support from the Sports Minister MS Gill."

Aslam also said that there was nothing fishy about the affiliation process of Hockey Punjab as was being claimed by HI.

"Hockey Punjab got recognition in normal circumstances as any other federation. But the unfortunate part is that there are many doubts about the affiliation of some other states", Aslam said.

"It is shocking to see that the representatives of Karnataka and Chandigarh, who followed all the procedures, were being left out from the list," the former secretary general said.

He also questioned HI's intention behind the scrapping of former Indian Women's Hockey Federation chief Amrit Bose's name from the electoral college even though she was elected as the secretary of the Delhi ad-hoc body.

"This has been done to keep away Amrit Bose from contesting the elections as she was a candidate for the secretary's post against Batra," Aslam claimed.

"The president and secretary are the bona fide voters from any federation. If the president and secretary is not available then the president has the power to nominate somebody but this is completely unethical," he said.

Aslam also held Batra responsible for damaging the autonomy of the Olympic movement in India.

"It was Batra who went to the court against erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill and only then the court asked the government to intervene in the affairs of all the national federations. This has damaged the autonomy of the Olympic movement.

"I don't understand why IOA president Suresh Kalmadi has turned a deaf ear on all these," he questioned.

The Times of India



Gurbux lashes out at IOA

Principal Correspondent


KOLKATA: Former Olympian and Secretary of the Bengal Hockey Association, Gurbux Singh, charged that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is meddling too much in the affairs of current national body, Hockey India.

“Ever since the IHF (Indian Hockey Federation) was disbanded the IOA has been making too much interference in Hockey India by putting its implants in the top positions,” said Gurbux in a news conference on Wednesday.

“There is a blatant effort to ignore the existing State affiliates and bring up new State bodies which would ensure their allegiance to the Hockey India officials,” said Gurbux, who is also an observer for HI’s affiliation process.

“Such transformation has already happened in many States but there others who are resisting Hockey India’s underhand dealings,” he added. This has prompted the existing affiliates like Rajasthan and Mumbai to go to court against the national body, he said.

Echoes Pargat’s view

When asked about former India captain Pargat Singh’s recent criticism of the IOA President Suresh Kalmadi, Gurbux corroborated the former.

The BHA Secretary said that his association escaped the oblique interference of the HI as the Bengal Olympic Association shot down a request from the latter to name a different body from the State.

“What we want is free and fair elections and for that to happen current office-bearers of HI should come forward and disclose whether they will field their candidature. If they are in the seat as candidates then a free election is not possible,” Gurbux said.

The Hindu



Hockey India runs like a mafia organisation: Gurbax

KOLKATA: Olympian and former India captain Gurbax Singh on Wednesday criticised officials of the Hockey India for "running the organisation like mafias".

"The way they are running Hockey India, it is no less than a show run by mafias," he said.

Gurbax, who is also the secretary of Bengal Hockey Association, urged the HI to hold fair elections soon and keep it free from any interference by Indian Olympic Association.

He also alleged that IOA president Suresh Kalmadi has been interfering in the affairs of the HI.

"Narender Batra is in charge of conducting the elections at the same time he is trying to contest. Transparency has been lacking in the affairs of HI," he said.

Gurbax, who is also a member of present HI Affiliation Committee said, "I have attended three meetings of the committee but the authorities did not produce the current list of its affiliated units till date."

The Times of India