Administration Dispute Over Indian Hockey Intensifies

July 27, 2011

Confusion continues to reign across India over the governing bodies running the country’s hockey, one of the country’s most popular sports.

Rival bodies Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) are competing to control the administration of the sport. However, amidst news that the two bodies agreed to form a joint executive board to run the game on Monday, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra has rubbished the new truce, labelling it “a bizarre live-in relationship”.

The arrangement to form a joint board was set to run until December 31, 2012. Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken, who has tried to reform sport in the country since being appointed earlier this year, has been the driving force behind the partnership, although the organisations involved have insisted it is not a merger.

However, Malhotra insisted the National Olympic Committee would only recognise one body.

He said: “We don’t want to open a Pandora’s box which will lead to total chaos in Indian sports.

“Unless a unified body is formed to run hockey, it will not be acceptable. IOA will never accept two co-chairpersons for one federation. This is not feasible and workable.”

On the role of Maken, Malhotra said: “In his bid to be seen as a minister in action, he has become minister in distortion. How can two separate entities run a single sport?”

He added: “This so-called skewed agreement also strengthens IOA’s stand that government should steer clear of interfering in the affairs of sports bodies. It is laughable and highly incredulous to call such agreement good for Indian sports.”