World Series Hockey an unsanctioned event: FIH


New Delhi : The World Series Hockey (WSH), a major bone of contention between its organisers Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI), is an “unsanctioned” event, the world body reiterated Friday.

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IHF and Nimbus Sports, the sponsors the tournament, announced the teams, the players and the eight captains of the event Thursday. The tournament is scheduled to begin Dec 15.

National team players Sardara Singh, Adrian D’Souza, Arjun Halappa and Prabhjot Singh missed the camp in Bangalore for a day to be part of the announcement in Mumbai. It has not gone well with HI as the players were refused permission to join the function. The matter has been referred to the HI disciplinary panel.

WSH has been one the reason why unification talks between HI and IHF broke down a week back. The two parties will be back in the negotiating table Monday.

“The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is aware that the Indian government (sports ministry) is leading talks and that a critical meeting between HI and the IHF is scheduled for Monday, July 25. The FIH believes that announcements such as those made regarding World Series Hockey are not in the best interest of the sport and will surely not be conducive to finding a long term solution,” an FIH statement said.

“The FIH would like to restate that it has not changed its position. It remains an unsanctioned event as per the FIH statutes and by-laws.”

IHF, which got its suspension lifted by the Delhi High Court last year, wrote to the world body, saying they cannot ban players for appearing in a domestic league following which FIH softneded its stance and said IHF will not be allowed to sign new players.

“Regarding player participation in the WSH, players who signed contracts with WSG before March 31, 2011 could, subject to them having no other contractual or national obligations with their respective national associations, play in the league.”

One of the demands of IHF for formation of a new body with HI was that the latter should acknowledge WSH and talk to FIH for removing the condition of not signing new players.

IHF president R.K. Shetty said they are no giving much importance to FIH’s statement. “It is a domestic leagues and there are so many domestic competitions around the world,” Shetty told IANS.

After the success of the World Cup last year, FIH has realised that India has a big market for hockey. They have lined up many international tournaments, including a proposed world league, in the coming few years in India.