New Delhi: Hockey India's (HI) bid to be the sole body of governance for the national sport in the country has got a shot in the arm after the Government of India recently accorded it the status of a National Sports Federation (NSF).
Hockey India, which was derecognised by the Union Sports Ministry in 2012 for not adhering to government guidelines, internal disputes and mismanagement, has finally been recognised as the sole body for the promotion of hockey in the country by the government.
In a letter addressed to Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra, dated February 28, Under Secretary to the Government of India, A K Patro said that Hockey India will be the sole body responsible for running the game of hockey in the country.
"The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India recognises the importance of the sport of hockey in India, its popularity among the masses and medal prospects of India in various international events. Keeping these factors in view, the Ministry realises the need to quickly resolve the long-pending issue of granting recognition to a federation as NSF for the sport of hockey," the letter read.
"After a careful and detailed examination of the documents on record and keeping in view all the relevant factors, Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has reached the conclusion that 'Hockey India' may be given recognition as the National Sports Federation for governing the sport of hockey (both men and women) in India," it said.
"Accordingly, Hockey India is made responsible and accountable for the overall management, direction, control, regulation, promotion and development of the sport discipline, i.e. hockey," the letter added.
The letter further said that in order to get assistance and continued recognition from the Sports Ministry, Hockey India will have to follow the guidelines of the government and the National Sports Development Code of India.
Batra thanked the Sports Ministry for recognising the federation's efforts and said it was a "moment of pride" for the entire hockey fraternity.
"It is a moment of pride for not only Hockey India but even for players and coaches who have worked towards this goal in their own ways and efforts," he said.
"Our endeavour will always be to make hockey the number one sport in the country and we aim to motivate the Indian team to achieve feats which Indians will remember and talk about when the history of hockey is being discussed. We will continue our effort in that direction till the time we do not achieve what we set out to do," Batra said.
In order to get the government's recognition, a NSF needs to be recognised by its international body, in this case the International Hockey Federation (FIH), as well as the Indian Olympic Association.
Hockey India has fulfilled both the criteria since 2009 as the FIH, Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and IOA have considered it as the sole body responsible for the governance of the game in India.
Since 2012, HI and FIH have jointly organised major tournaments like the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, FIH World League Round 2, FIH Junior Men World Cup and FIH World League Round Final in India.
The manner in which HI has been successfully conducting international tournaments in the last few years, has helped it to bag major events between the period 2014 to 2018, which includes this year's Champions Trophy, FIH Women's World League Round-2 and FIH Men's World League Final in 2015, FIH Junior Men's World Cup in 2016, FIH Men's World League Round Final in 2017 and FIH Senior Men's World Cup in 2018.
HI has also been conducting nationals in all the categories since 2011, besides the Hockey India League, which completed its second editions only last month.
HI has 27 affiliated members, 19 associate members and two members through state Olympic associations.