Will FIH role In IOA be probed? - The New Indian Express

Will FIH role In IOA be probed?

Published: 07th December 2012 10:47 AM

Last Updated: 07th December 2012 10:47 AM

The Indian Olympic Association copped it up like never before. Perhaps, like none else either despite being an organisation in the World’s largest democracy.

The IOA has indeed been guilty of violating the Olympic Charter on various counts as has been elaborated in these columns. The IOC’s official suspension letter also spells out the main, indisputable reasons too. But is the IOA alone guilty? The role of an International Federation (IF) in a National Olympic Committee’s (NOC) affairs has also been a directly contributory factor in the concerned NOC violating the OC.

In the case of IOA, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is also to blame for the creation of two hockey bodies and thereby causing the IOA to violate the OC on that count. The statues of the IOA, the FIH itself and, ofcourse, the IOC’s Olympic Charter, state that there can only be one national body affiliated to the NOC. And that the IF must ensure that only national body is affiliated to it. Thanks to back-room manoeuvring, the FIH played a big role in the creation and consequent recognition of Hockey India after the IOA hurriedly dissolved the Indian Hockey Federation after the hockey team failed to quality for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.     

The FIH gave affiliation to Hockey India even before it was a registered body in India. The FIH never bothered to find out if the IHF was disaffiliated by the IOA after due procedures were followed. Despite court verdicts in favour of the IHF being spelt out, the IOA and the FIH, for one reason or the other, kept Hockey India alive and thereby violated the Olympic Charter. When the two groups were brought together and Working Group consisting officials of both sides was formed, the FIH suddenly realised, even rightfully, that there cannot be two bodies and it was dissolved.

It forced the IOA to form a three-member committee to determine which was the genuine body. The very same members who were involved in creation of Hockey India, very expectedly ruled that HI was the right body. The IHF went to court against this and the Delhi HC ordered status quo till further orders. The connivance of the FIH and the IOA in hoisting Hockey India was there for all to see. If the IOA is suspended for violating the charter, should the role of the FIH not be probed by the IOC to determine the extent of their interference in hockey affairs in India and their complicity in the IOA’s proven violations?

Perhaps, the IOC will be doing sport a great service by bringing to book IFs who indulge in politicking with sports in other nations for selfish reasons and cause immense harm to sport in that country. Can an IF, affiliated to the IOC, interfere and involve itself in a negative manner and cause a NOC to violate the OC? Probably, the IOC now has the best chance of cleansing the mess in Indian sport altogether for a better future for India. Not just that, the Indian example will serve as deterrent to all other IOC affiliates, NOCs and IFs, in the future.

“Yes, Hockey India was recognised by the FIH even before it was registered in India. We have records of that. I think the IOC must probe the role of the FIH too and take steps to prevent such things in future,” said R K Shetty, former president of the IHF.

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