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Unfazed WSH organisers threaten legal action against FIH

Posted By: Pti

New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) Unperturbed by the FIH diktatasking member countries to either stay away from the WorldSeries Hockey or risk Olympic exclusion, the organisers of theleague today said they will "go ahead" as planned and takelegal action against the game''s governing body if necessary.

The WSH is a joint venture of the Indian HockeyFederation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports television channel and isset to start in November this year with around 10 franchisesfighting it out in the USD one million event.

"We are the only authorised body to run hockey in thecountry by the Government of India. The High Court hasrecognised us and revived us. Who is FIH to say they don''trecognise us? It proves that they have scant respect for thecourt," a peeved IHF president RK Shetty told PTI.

"We will be going ahead with the tournament. There is noquestion of backing out. We are organising the tournament forthe benefit of the players and for the development of hockey.

I am really surprised why the FIH is interfering in ourinternal matters.

"I am a person who always prefers to sort out thingsacross the table. I am the last person to opt for it but ifpushed to the wall our legal options are always open," Shettysaid.

The IHF chief also said the WSH is a domestic tournamentand FIH has no say in its organisation.

"It is a tournament which will be held in India and notin any other country. It is just a 45-day pro-developmenttournament and will not clash with FIH events. I don''t knowwhy suddenly the FIH is acting like a big brother," Shettysaid.

Even before its start, the WSH ran into rough weatherwith the FIH. In a strongly worded letter to all NationalAssociation''s (NAs) earlier this week, FIH stated that it doesnot recognise the league and anyone participating in the eventwill be declared ineligible to participate in the Olympics.

The FIH also revealed that in collaboration with HockeyIndia, which is running the game in the country, it willlaunch its own hockey league soon.

"FIH has received reports from some national associationsthat some of their players have been approached from agenciessupposing to represent franchises that will participate in thenew league," it said.

"FIH does not recognise the WSH. FIH notes that matchesin the WSH may conflict with FIH major events, which maycompromise an athlete''s participation in their national teamprogram. .

"Any player and any NA that participates in the WSH may render that player and NA ineligible to participate in any FIHtournament, including Olympic Qualifying tournaments and theOlympic Games," the FIH added.

The WSH was launched with much fanfare last month withthe organisers signing India captain Rajpal Singh, SandeepSingh, Sardara Singh, Adrian D''Souza, Dhananjay Mahadik, ArjunHalappa among others for the tournament.

Apart from the Indian players, the organisers alsoapproached a few international stars, including Australia''sJamie Dwyer, to be a part of the league.

But ever since its launch, the WSH has been hit byroadblocks with some of the major public sector employers,including Air India and Indian Oil Corporation, decidingagainst their players'' participation in the cash-richtournament.

As if it was not enough, the Pakistan Hockey Federationhave also asked its players to stay away from the rebelleague.

Even though they are still in dark about the diktat, theexpulsion threat seemed to have worked as senior members ofIndian hockey team, who have already signed contracts with theWSH, saying that in the present scenario they have no otheroption but to obey FIH''s order.

"I didn''t know about this (FIH''s order). For any playerrepresenting the country is most important but let''s see whathappens," India captain Rajpal Singh said when asked about hisview on FIH''s diktat against WSH.

Star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh added: "I have noknowledge about the FIH order but 70 of us (Indian players)have signed contracts.

"If the FIH doesn''t recognise it, we will have to abideby its decision. We can''t go against the FIH and risk ourparticipation in international events."

"Let''s see what happens. We will have to discuss theissue with the organisers," he added.

Senior striker Arjun Halappa also sounded ignorant aboutthe FIH threat but agreed with his team-mates that they can''tafford to risk their international careers.

"I haven''t heard anything. I will have to check it out inthe FIH''s website and then only I can make a comment. Butplaying for the country is the foremost priority of everyplayer," Halappa said.

Story first published: Thursday, January 27, 2011, 17:00 [IST]
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