By Jugjet Singh
THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) have asked Malaysian Hockey Confederation Secretary General Maninderjit Singh to apologise to them for sending them an e-mail criticising on Spain’s back-door qualification to the Olympics.
Maninderjit had written to the FIH asking for an explanation after reports, online and on television, had said that since South Africa had failed to reached their federation’s target of reaching the final of the Champions Challenge I, they will forfeit their Olympic ticket and play in the Japan Qualifier.
The reports had said that South Africa’s African Nation’s Olympic ticket will now be given to the highest ranked Qualifier, which is Spain.
Maninderjit was peeved with the swap between South Africa and Spain, and had written a strongly worded e-mail to the FIH after India and Belgium qualified for the Champions Challenge I final.
“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 Maninderjit Singh in an earlier Timesport article.
However, the e-mail from Maninderjit to the FIH also read: “And I believe that FIH should be hard on the reasoning for Spain to get this berth and it is also that we all know that the current FIH President is from Spain. More so, FIH have to be more vigilant with the approach on such matter.”
The FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather wrote an e-mail to Maninderjit Singh stating: “The reference in your e-mail to our president is completely unacceptable. I trust that with time to reflect you will understand how serious the implications carried by your comments are.
“I ask that you immediately contact the president by e-mail to apologise for your comments and that you unconditionally withdraw them from the public arena.
“The immediacy and extent of your apology and retraction will inform the nature of any further action to be taken by the FIH.
“For your information, at the time of writing no decision has been taken with regards to any replacement for South Africa as the FIH is following the process outlined in the Qualification system.
“It is really unfortunate that you have either deliberately chosen to ignore the aforementioned Qualification system ot have written what you have in total ignorance of the published system.”
When contacted by Timesport, Manindersjit said he has written an apology to the FIH and considers the matter closed.