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Hockey India polls scheduled for early Feb

November 13, 2009 20:51 IST

After missing its November 20 deadline, Hockey India on Friday have been given one last chance to clear its mess before next year's World Cup with the FIH granting an extension upto first week of February to complete the national hockey body's election process.

Hockey India (HI) has promised to conduct the elections in the first week of February after a series of meetings with International Hockey Federation vice president Antonio von Ondarza, who is also the FIH-appointed observer for the polls.

"We have decided to hold the elections in the first week of February. The FIH has agreed to this. We will sort out all the issues and have a re-look at the affiliation disputes," HI president A K Mattoo told PTI.

"The FIH had received some letters regarding affiliations. We will go through the entire process and resolve all the issues," he said.

Even as Hockey India put up a bold face of resolving all the issues related to the much-delayed elections, it seemed headed for a fresh internal crisis with secretary general Mohammad Aslam resigning from the post, accusing key officials of delaying the election process.

Mattoo said he had not yet received Aslam's resignation letter, but would accept it once it lands in his hand.

"It is unfortunate that he has resigned at such a time. Some of the comments he has made are unfair and I am quite upset and hurt by all these," Mattoo said.

A disgusted Aslam said he had first offered his resignation in July this year because of the delay in HI election process, which he feels should have been completed after the Beijing Olympics.

"I first offered my resignation on July 24 but that time it was not accepted. It is disgusting to work with these lot of people who are just interested in murky politics and not the betterment of the game.

"My tenure ends on November 20 and I promised to hold the elections before that, accordingly we fixed the date for November 18. But now when it is clear that the deadline won't be met I don't want to carry on after the due date. Principally and morally it is incorrect," Aslam told PTI.

"I tried my level best to hold the elections on time but some colleagues have delayed the process. It happened because some people didn't take the matter seriously," he said.

HI elections were scheduled for November 18 in Srinagar.

But the Sports Ministry had asked the body to clear its mess before going for the polls after major hockey playing states in Punjab, Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand were not granted recognition.

The new election date will come barely two weeks before the World Cup, scheduled for February 28 to March 13 in New Delhi.

As per the FIH directive, incase HI fails to complete the election process on time hosts India would be barred from taking part in the high-profile event.

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