FIH rejects ministry’s contention, backs Hockey India


New Delhi: International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre told the sports ministry Monday that it only recognises Hockey India (HI) as the sole body to run the sport in the country, and not any other body including the K.P.S Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

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The FIH president shot off a letter to sports ministry Monday, reminding that the IHF had been derecognised by it way back in 2000 for not adhering to the world body’s guidelines.

The ministry continued the chain of correspondence by shooting off yet another communication, saying the government alone can decide on the locus standi of any sports federation and since HI claimed that it is a private body, it cannot be recognised as an official National Sports Federation.

“The authority for any association to represent India in any international association comes within the ambit of the union government as per the Constitution of India. Hence it is the responsibility of the Sports Ministry to grant recognition to NSFs in the country. It is in this context that we had advised you not to deal with HI under the impression that it is the recognised NSF for Hockey in India,” Injeti Srinivas, secretary, sports ministry, responded to Negre’s letter.

Earlier, Negre said under the circumstances and in the best interest of the sport in India, we would like to inform you that HI is the “sole and the only body that has been recognised by FIH and also compliant with FIH statutes”.

“We have already recognised HI as the body for the management control and promotion of sport in the country, duly recognised by Indian Olympic Association (IOA), based on the Olympic movement, charter and FIH statutes.

“We therefore sincerely request you to support and cooperate with the decision taken by the FIH. Please note that women’s world cup is round the corner and we have requested HI to send the team so that India is represented. We are bound by our statutes and we cannot be compelled to act in violation of our statutes.

“HI has complied with all requirements of FIH except elections. On Aug 5 HI election were conducted by a retired High Court Judge, IOA observer and in the presence of FIH observer Antonio Von Ondarza and we have noted this compliance on part of HI and are satisfied with this compliance,” Negre said.

Negre also said FIH is “shocked to note” that it is being asked to grant recognition to IHF.

“We are shocked to note that in spite of being completely aware that IHF is non- compliant with our statutes and in spite of the fact that it was derecongnised by us way back in 2000 on the ground that it was a defunct body, you are now strangely calling upon us to recognise IHF.

“The Indian Women’s Hockey Federation has already merged with HI in 2008, in view of which IHF and IWHF merger is not possible.

Negre further said that HI was formed in consultation with sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association to govern, manage and control promotion of hockey for both men and women in India as per FIH statutes and HI was recognised by IOA in May 2009 and by FIH in June.

The sports ministry, which decided to recognise IHF following the Delhi High Court order and the HI election, wrote to FIH stating its legal position in derecognising HI and rerecognising IHF.

“HI have declared before the courts, including the Supreme Court of India that they are a private body and not amenable to writ jurisdiction. Since the functions of an NSF fall within the realm of public duties, it is not tenable for a private body to carry out these activities,” Srinivas said.

“It may be consequent upon derecognition of HI, the Registrar of Societies of Delhi with whom HI are registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 has been duly advised to withdraw permission from the society for the use of the name ‘Hockey India’ which conveys the impression of government recognition or patronage.

“Under the names and emblem Act, 1950 no society can use the name of the union without the approval of the union government. Since HI stands derecognised and is no more authorised to function as the NSF for hockey in India, it has to change its name and revise its Memorandum of Association to fit with its private character. The Registrar of Societies has been informed accordingly.”