Chennai: The 2011 men's Champions Trophy will not be held in India as originally scheduled but will be shifted to another venue which will be announced within a week, the International Hockey Federation announced on Tuesday.

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“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,” FIH said in a press release.

“The schedule and line-up of the Champions Trophy will be determined when the host is announced. However, the event will take place during the same window of December 3-11. As a result of no longer hosting the Champions Trophy, India has been invited to play in the Champions Challenge to be held in South Africa in November,” it stated.

As hosts, India were eligible to play in the elite tournament reserved for the top six national teams, but will now have to qualify for the event through the Champions Challenge. 

With no immediate end in sight in the power struggle between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation, the Olympic qualification tournament scheduled to be held in Delhi in February 2012 is also in jeopardy unless the two bodies merge to present a unified structure that the FIH has been insisting on. 

Several attempts to merge the two units have failed with neither willing to concede authority and power. The FIH said it will continue to monitor the developments and decide on the future of several international tournaments that have been allotted to India.

“It is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes that there be only 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,” the release pointed out.  We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India, said FIH President Leandro Negre in the press release.

“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,” he added.

Michael Green, two-time Olympian and Chairman of the FIH Athlete's Committee, added: 'The first priority has to be the athletes, and while this was a tough decision for the FIH to make, I feel that they have ultimately made the choice that is best for the athletes involved.' 

The FIH is in the final stages of reviewing bids from other nations that are willing and able within the scheduled timeframe to host an event of the magnitude of the Champions Trophy, the release said.

(Agencies)