By Jugjet Singh
Note: Hopefully, the other 17 teams in Olympic Qualifier groups will also send their displeasure to FIH. Especially, Qualifier hosts India, Japan and Ireland.
THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are peeved that their parent world body International Hockey Federation (FIH) have allowed Spain an automatic ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
This fantastic scenario emerged after South Africa failed to qualify for the final of the Champions Challenge I, when they went down 4-2 to India in the semi-finals on Saturday.
South Africa had qualified for the Olympics by virtue of being the African continent champions, but their Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee had set the team a condition of playing in the final of the Champions Challenge I if they want to play in the Olympics.
And Spain had lost their European Qualifier ticket to Belgium, and had been slated to play in the Japan Olympic Qualifier in April, but a private deal will now see them play in the Olympics, while South Africa will play in the Japan Qualifier.
“This scenario is simply mind boggling, as this private deal was never communicated or circulated to all teams who will be playing in the Olympic Qualifiers in India, Ireland and Japan,” said MHF general manager Maninderjit Singh.
And immediately after the deal was known to Maninderjit, he sent an e-mail to the FIH , whose president Leandro Negre is from Spain, asking for justification and clarification.
Part of the e-mail to FIH read: “As you remember that I also wrote an e-mail protesting why Oceania were given two slots with only two teams playing in the Oceania Cup (Fiji pulled out prior to the event).
“I suggested that second placed team in the Asian Games (Malaysia) and the second placed team in Oceania play a best of three matches to decide the slot.
“The answer I received from you (FIH) was that the mechanism is been endorsed between International Olympic Committee and FIH and any changes could not be made or else we may face legal challenges. What about this scenario now?”
MHF are of the opinion that Egypt, the second placed team in the African qualifier, should be give the ticket instead of Spain.
Also, Malaysia want answers why the slot was given to Europe, and not Pan-America or Asia. And Maninderjit also suggested, in his e-mail, that the three Olympic Qualifiers offer four tickets to the Olympics, with three going to the respective champions, and the fourth to the best placed team -- instead of handing it on a platter to Spain.