International Hockey Federation on Friday defended extending the deadline for Hockey India's [ Images ] (HI) elections but also asserted that India would be barred from next year's World Cup if they fail to put in place a democratically elected body by the end of January.
FIH president Leandro Negre said HI was given time till January end to settle all the affiliation issues of the state units to form a unified body keeping in mind the enormous paperworks involved in the process.
"India is a vast country, so problems will always be there and it needs time to merge all the states together," Negre told reporters.
"The FIH vice-president recently visited India and informed me exactly what is happening there. When he told me that elections need to be postponed, I immediately agreed.
"Yes, it is very close to World Cup but we have to look at the positive side," Negre said.
During his visit this month, FIH Vice President Antonio von Ondarza granted an extension to HI till January end to conduct the polls after the ad-hoc national federation had missed the original November 20 deadline.
The FIH chief, however, reiterated that failing the deadline, India would be barred from participating in the mega-event to be held here from February 28 to March 13.
"India is key for world hockey but we maintain that as per our constitution, there should be an elected body before the World Cup. If they fail, we have to follow FIH constitution but hopefully that will not happen. I'm sure elections will be over before the World Cup," Negre said.
"We are here to guarantee that all the procedures are completed within the given time. All the problems will be sorted out once democratically elected body is in place.
"I have lot of faith in sports minister M S Gill and he has assured me that job will be done. I hope India will prepare in a fantastic way for the World Cup," Negre said.
"We are working together with HI and sports ministry and we have good understanding with both the parties," he added.
Negre also ruled out the possibility of meeting Bengal Hockey Association president J B Roy-led warring faction during his present visit.
"This is my fourth visit to India this year. I met them couple of times and heard about their grievances. But I'm not meeting them this time," he said.