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IHF, IWHF merge, election in October

August 12, 2010 17:13 IST
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In a first step towards getting FIH recognition, the Indian Hockey Federation and Indian Women's Hockey Federation merged on Thursday to form a single body that will handle the affairs of the game in the country.

The body, which will continue to be known as the Indian Hockey Federation, will elect its office-bearers in the first week of October.

Hockey India was derecognized by the government for non-compliance of guidelines, leaving the KPS Gill-led IHF the sole representative of the game in the country.

Gill exchanged papers with IWHF president Atma Ram during the general and executive body meetings in Delhi and said the amendments to the constitution, required to make the changes effective, would be passed next month.

"The IHF and the IWHF today merged. But the IHF constitution needs some amendments to formalise the decision, which we will be brought during our next meeting, to be held probably on September 9," Gill said at a press conference.

"We also want to hold the election of the federation in the first week of October, before the holidays of Dussera. Till that time two executive committees will jointly look after all the affairs," Gill added.

The former top cop said the IHF would apply for recognition from the international body once the election process is over.

"We will apply for affiliation of the FIH only after the elections," he said.

Re-recognised by the sports ministry, the IHF is trying to get the approval of the FIH, which still considers Hockey India the sole representative for the sport in the country.

One of the pre-requisites for FIH recognition is having a single body for both men and the women players.

"We are happy to merge with the IHF today. Out of total 33 state units we had 30 units in the meeting and passed the resolution unanimously. IHF also had the majority of the units in attendance.

"We now have to give 21 days of notice before passing the amendment resolutions required," IWHF general secretary Amrit Bose said on the occasion.

"We would also like to involve the former players in the Federation's working in order to utilise their experience," Bose added.

There is confusion over which body is the official representative of hockey in India as both Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation have staked their claims.

While the IHF has promised to comply with the sports ministry's age and tenure limitation guidelines and has the government's backing, Hockey India enjoys the FIH's support.

Asked about the confusion, Bose claimed, "Now IHF is the sole representative in India and Hockey India is only a private body. Only a national federation can take decision regarding the national team and HI has no power now."

The Delhi high court had recently said the government should not associate itself with Hockey India's elections as it is a private body and held that the IHF is the only recognised body for the sport in the country.

Gill, however, said they would not intervene into the working of the current national selection panel.

"We will not interfere into their works. The national selectors would pick the India team," he said.

"Now we are seeing some of the familiar faces who were missing during the last couple of years. Now there is no Hockey India, only the 'Hock India'," Gill signed off.

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