The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has today expressed to the Indian Sports Minister its grave concern about the ‘settlement’ recently announced between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), without prior consultation with the FIH.
It is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes (and indeed of the Indian Government’s own guidelines and draft sports bill) that there can only be one governing body for a sport in each country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organise national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions.
The FIH recognises HI as the governing body for hockey in India, responsible as a member of the FIH for running Indian hockey in accordance with the objects of and subject to the rules and regulations set out in the FIH Statutes. The FIH does not recognise the IHF and has not done so since 2000. The FIH had understood that that position was also accepted by the Indian Sports Minister, and that the intent of the brokered discussions was to resolve the IHF’s conflicting claim to recognition by bringing the IHF officials into the HI fold.
The FIH is therefore surprised and disappointed to learn that the proposal now is simply, as a temporary fix, to transfer governance authority in India from HI to a new ‘joint executive committee’ controlled jointly by HI and the IHF and ‘co-chaired’ by the HI and IHF presidents.
This compromise fails to resolve the fundamental underlying issues that have blighted Indian hockey for so long. In addition, it does not comply with the FIH Statutes, which do not permit a member to transfer or share its powers to another body that is not a member of or bound by the FIH Statutes, still less to share its powers with a body (the IHF) that is involved in organising an unsanctioned event (World Series Hockey), participation in which is prohibited under the FIH Statutes.
The FIH Executive Board is obliged to uphold the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes. The FIH President has therefore written to the Indian Sports Minister, calling for an urgent meeting, involving the Presidents of HI and the IOA, to discuss the FIH’s concerns and the ramifications of the current proposal for India’s role in world hockey. In the meantime, the FIH Executive Board has decided that it is neither possible nor appropriate to continue with the discussions with HI to host tournaments in India over the next 4 year cycle, particularly the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy (December 2011), and the FIH Men’s & Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (February 2012).
The FIH greatly regrets this decision but feels that it is left with no alternative in the circumstances. The FIH has always been and remains committed to the success of hockey in India. It hopes that a resolution that complies with the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes can be found quickly.
FIH Media Release - 29 July 2011
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