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IOA-Hockey India team for C'wealth Games

Source: PTI
August 27, 2010 18:06 IST
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The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the Indian Olympic Association and Hockey India to field the men's and women's teams in the October Commonwealth Games.

"We direct, as an interim measure, that IOA and Hockey India will field the Indian team for men's and women's hockey in the Commonwealth Games," a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale said.

The order was passed after Hockey India's rival Indian Hockey Federation admitted that it is not affiliated to the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Indian Olympic Association also said that it recognizes only Hockey India as the national federation.

The IOA had submitted before the court that being an apex body of sports, it considers the suggestion of the respective associations and federations affiliated with it for the selection of teams.

"We find no reason why IOA should not field the team in assistance with the Hockey India as has been done in the case of Indian women's hockey team for the World Cup in Argentina," the Bench said.

The court hoped that the best team would be fielded for the Games.

"We hope that all stakeholders will realise that it is important that the best team is fielded, instead of indulging in internal squabble," the Bench added.

Commenting on the dispute, the Bench said, "We find this is a case of much ado about nothing," as every body agrees including Hockey India and Sports Authority of India and IOA that the team would be selected by the National Selection Committee which comprises former players like Zafar Iqbal, Ajit Pal Singh, Govinda and Balbir Singh.

"It is not if SAI, HI, IOA have differences over the selection of players. Players are the same and selectors are same for everybody," said the Bench, which was told that the names of the players for the Games will be known by Friday or Saturday.

The teams' entry has to be done before September 3.

The order was passed after the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports failed to convince the court that IOA alone could facilitate the entry of the teams to the Games.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium submitted that the procedure for entry of the teams in the Games is different from other international events.

He claimed that for a national team to participate in the Commonwealth Games, the IOA can directly make the entry before the Commonwealth Games Federation and there is no need for any national body to be affiliated with the FIH.

However, his submission was opposed by Hockey India's counsel Ashok Desai, Mukul Rohtagi and IOA's advocate Indu Malhotra.

Even the Bench was not convinced that IOA could select the team.

"IOA is an umbrella body. If it did not have expertise in the game how a team could be selected by it," the Bench observed.

The court was also surprised that in the selection of the team, the coach has no say.

"India has a dubious distinction that the coaches have no say in the selection of the team," the Bench said and noted in its order the names of coaches for the men's and women teams.

The court concluded the hearing by allowing the IOA to add any member into the NSC and posted the hearing after the Games.

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