Former India coach and captain Joaquim Carvalho hit out at Hockey India on Thursday for preventing fellow-Olympians Dilip Tirkey and Ashish Ballal from performing their roles as selectors of the rival Indian Hockey Federation at the ongoing 63rd men's Nationals in Bhopal.
In a letter to the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Carvalho also accused an official of Air India Sports Control Board of preventing former India skipper Tirkey and custodian Ballal from doing their job as IHF selectors.
The former international half back, who did duty for the country at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, alleged that Hockey India had directed Air India and Railways Sports Promotion Board to warn their employees against being part of the Bhopal Nationals for the Rangaswamy Cup.
"As I am writing this letter, I just received a call from former captain, Olympian, Padma Shri Dilip Tirkey who has been stopped by the Air India Sports Control Board from performing his duties as a national selector at the ongoing 63rd National Hockey Championship at Bhopal," Carvalho wrote in his letter to the ministry's joint-secretary Injeti Srinivas.
"Mr Ashish Ballal, Olympian and Arjuna Awardee, who was also named as a selector was also not granted the necessary permission to attend the championship as per the instructions of Mr Ramesh Nambiar, Air India Sports office bearer," Carvalho alleged.
Stating that he was pained to witness the sad happenings in Indian hockey, Carvalho -- a member of the Mumbai Hockey Association's managing committee -- alleged that players and others are being used as pawns in the power struggle in Indian hockey.
"Being a former Olympian, Arjuna Awardee, India captain and chief coach of the Indian team it gives me great pain to witness the sad happenings in Indian Hockey, more so as players are being used as pawns in this ongoing power struggle," he said.
"The ongoing dispute between the two hockey bodies i.e Hockey India, a creation of the Indian Olympic Association, and the other, erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation, has not only divided Indian hockey but also created utter confusion in the minds of the players, officials, and people."
Hitting out at Hockey India president Vidya Stokes for issuing directives to institutional teams not to take part in the nationals, Carvalho also urged the government to take suitable action and prevent players and umpires from being made pawns in the power struggle.
"The Government's indecisiveness in not acting quickly and allowing these institutional teams run by the government to stay away from the National Championship has sent the wrong signals," he said in his letter.
"I would like to request the MYAS to kindly take immediate drastic action so that such behaviour of Hockey India officials is not tolerated and players, officials, umpires and teams are not made pawns in this unwanted power struggle," Carvalho said.
Carvalho has claimed that the decision of the ministry in allowing Hockey India to hold its much-delayed elections on July 28 has added to the confusion.
"Giving your consent to Hockey India to hold the elections has further added to the already confused state of Indian hockey, especially as per MYAS affidavit submitted in the Delhi High Court mentioning that the Government is no more in a position to deal with Hockey India as National Sports Federation," he said.
He also sought clarification from the government as to which of the two hockey bodies is legal.
"We would be pleased to know which is the legal hockey body and how can we have two bodies recognised by the Government of India and the Indian Olympic Association. Please come out clear on this subject.
"In spite of this, the Government is still funding the teams for its training and foreign tours selected by Hockey India. Will the government also fund teams for training and foreign tours selected by Indian Hockey Federation?" he asked.
"This dilly-dallying is not only creating confusion and chaos but destroying hockey with no suitable solution in sight. Your intervention and taking some hard decisions is the need of the hour," he implored.
"The present situation is having its negative impact on the Indian player who depends on playing in the National Championship for his state thereby earning a chance to apply for a much-needed job opportunity. More so at the grassroots level," he pointed out.