New Delhi: In a huge blow to India, the International Hockey Federation on Tuesday stripped the country from hosting this year's Champions Trophy, prompting angry reactions from the hockey fraternity which called the development "unfortunate and uncalled for". (Agencies)
The FIH announced that India will no longer host the 2011 Men's Champions Trophy due to ongoing problems with the governance of hockey in the country. A replacement host for the event is expected to be named within a week.
Soon after the surprise announcement, the hockey fraternity in India expressed dismay and described the development as a big setback and hamper the growth of the game.
Indian Olympic Association termed FIH's decision uncalled for.
The schedule and line-up of the 2011 Champions Trophy will be determined when the host is announced. However the event will take place during the same window of December 3-11.
With India no longer hosting the Champions Trophy, the country has been now invited to play in the Champions Challenge to be held in South Africa in November.
"We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India. It is difficult for the teams, the organizers and the fans. But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport," said FIH President Leandro Negre.
According to the IOC statutes which are followed by the FIH, there can only be one governing body for any one sport in any country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organize national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions.
In India, Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey federation (IHF) have been at loggerheads for quite some time to control the running of the game in the country.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that he would try to convince Negre when he meets him on September 13 and try to change the world body's decision.
"It is a big set back for the country. I will try to ensure that the major hockey tournaments alloted to India remain with us and also try to unite the two warring fractions -- Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) -- yet again in the larger interest of the game and the country," Maken said.
He also promised that he would ensure that India did not lose hosting rights of any other major hockey tournament in the future.
"My main aim is to see that the Olympic qualifiers should stay with India," he added.
Indian Olympic Association termed FIH's decision "uncalled for" and asked the world body to restore the high-profile tournament to the country.
"The decision is most unfortunate and uncalled for and we hope that FIH will rescind it and hold the tournament in New Delhi as per schedule," acting president V K Malhotra said.
"The huge success of World Cup and hockey competition in the Commonwealth Games is a clear testimony of the popularity of the game and it needs further push and encouragement. FIH should talk to IOA, which represents the IOC in the country. I hope FIH will keep New Delhi as venue for the Champions Trophy," Malhotra added.
Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation, the two group who are at loggerheads to control the game, and former players also criticised FIH's decision.
HI Secretary General Narinder Batra said since FIH President Negre was scheduled to meet Maken next week, the decision has left them shocked.
"We are shocked and disappointed. We did not have any hint of this happening. They did not even spoke to us before taking such a big decision," Batra said.
"If their decision is based on the power-sharing formula between HI and IHF, then it's really not appropriate. The agreement has not been implemented yet neither we have got a letter in this regard from the ministry. Then what was the hurry," Batra said.
IHF Secretary General Ashok Mathur said they do not understand why FIH came up with a decision like this.
"It's absolutely blackmailing. They knew about the initiative of the Sports ministry beforehand then this sudden decision is beyond understanding," Mathur said.
"FIH has always interfered in India's matters but this time they have crossed the limit. If it (governance) was the issue then why India was allowed to host the World Cup. The situation was the same at that time also."
Mathur said it was in FIH's interest to let India host the World Cup.
"They made a lot of money out of this. Despite this, they are treating India like this. It's a big loss for Indian hockey. If they had any objection to our agreement then why did they asked us not to resort to legal action? Even Negre had even welcomed this agreement, then what has happened now?" asked a peeved Mathur.
"The initiative was taken by the Sports Ministry. How we could say no to the government," he said.
New Delhi: In a huge blow to India, the International Hockey Federation on Tuesday stripped the country from hosting this year's Champions Trophy, prompting angry reactions from the hockey fraternity which called the development "unfortunate and uncalled for".