New Delhi: Indian hockey changed from a five-member ad-hoc committee to a seven-member Hockey India (HI) to comply with the deadline set by the international body. The reins, though, remain firmly in the hands of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
With the International Hockey Federation (FIH) telling the IOA in no uncertain terms to see the men and women's federations merged before the 2010 New Delhi World Cup, the apex body of Indian sports chose to go in for another tentative arrangement, saying it needs time to effect the merger of associations at the state level.
The IOA cannot hold the election as the superseded Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) headed by K P S Gill went to court challenging the decision to keep his body in suspended animation.
IOA treasurer A.K Mattoo has been nominated to head the ad hoc HI with Himachal Congress leader and president of the outgoing Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) as senior vice-president.
Mohd Aslam Khan, who was the convener of the ad hoc committee, is the new secretary- general while Narendra Batra, who revolted against Gill, is the treasurer.
Rajiv Mehta of Uttarakhand Olympic Association, Harish Sharma, secretary general Basketball federation, and Mushtaq Ahmed are the other three members of the body.
Announcing the formation of the new body, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said that the new body would now work for the merger of the state associations so that election for HI could be held within six months.
Members of the superseded IHF are expected to meet here next week to take stock of the situation before deciding the future course of action.
Kalmadi also stated that the present arrangement has the blessings of the FIH which is keen on the merger of the men and women's federations.
"FIH wrote a letter saying that if a unified hockey body is not formed,not only the World Cup will be taken away but India's participation in international events would have been in jeopardy."
Kalmadi said the HI will appoint new selection committee, while Mattoo said he preferred different committees for men and women.
Kalmadi said the IOA General Assembly formed a nine-member committee under Harish Sharma to come up with the new arrangement.
"The Committee was given all powers of the IOA General body to take decisions.
"The Committee has disaffiliated Indian Hockey Federation and IWHF with immediate effect and constituted a single body HI which came into existence May 20. The IOA has granted provisional affiliation to HI."
Kalmadi had a tough time facing a volley of questions as to why elections were not held while the ad hoc committee was running the sport for more than a year after the superseding K P S Gill-led IHF.
"We failed to reach a consensus within the hockey fraternity on holding the election and after the FIH deadline, we had no time."
Like he did in the past, Kalmadi once again promised to hold the election in six months.
"With the help of the State Olympic Associations, HI will ensure one unit for all these states. Mattoo is the right person for the job. He is an able administrator with vast managerial skills."
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