THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) might just get their wish to host a leg of the Olympic Qualifier next year, as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) handed India an ultimatum on Friday.
The FIH said in a statement that it would withdraw the rights for India to host the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Qualifier if an ongoing row between two hockey bodies is not resolved.
“The FIH recognises Hockey India (HI) as the governing body for hockey in India, responsible as a member of the FIH for running Indian hockey in accordance with the objects of and subject to the rules and regulations set out in the FIH Statutes. The FIH does not recognise the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and has not done so since 2000.
“The FIH Executive Board is obliged to uphold the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes. The FIH President has there fore written to the Indian Sports Minister, calling for an urgent meeting, involving the Presidents of HI and the IOA, to discuss the FIH’s concerns and the ramifications of the current proposal for India’s role in world hockey.
“In the meantime, the FIH Executive Board has decided that it is neither possible nor appropriate to continue with the discussions with HI to host tournaments in India over the next 4 year cycle, particularly the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy (December 2011), and the FIH Men’s & Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (February 2012),” read the state ment from FIH.
MHF secretary Maninderjit Singh said if the FIH ap proaches Malaysia, the Qualifier will be welcomed with open arms.
“It has always been our aspiration to host a leg of the Qualifier and we did put in a bid for it. But we lost, because FIH had wanted a host country which can accommodate both the men’s and women’s tournaments but we had only bid for one.
“And if the FIH approach us to host a leg, and India can’t resolve their issues, we are ready to grab it, and also host the women’s leg if that if what FIH wants,” said Maninderjit.
The National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil is also ready to host the tournament, as refurbishment work has been completed.
“The national stadium is ready and will host a series of matches between Malaysia and Japan (on Aug 7-15),” said Maninderjit.
The only problem to iron out now is the merger between the men’s and women’s hockey bodies in Malaysia into the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).
“We have received a letter from the FIH to merge by the end of this year, and we are confident to achieve the given deadline.”