THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are keen to host the Fourth Edition of the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) this year, but a sanction fee of RM155,000 (US40,000) is fast turning into a thorny issue.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) event was first mooted in 2011 and held in Ordos, China, followed by Doha, Oatar, in 2012 and Kakamigahara, Japan, in 2013.
An MHC official who declined to be named said the fee is too high, and they are still in negotiations with the AHF.
"The MHC placed a bid to host the ACT but were shocked when we found out that the sanction fee is RM155,000. We told the AHF that we are willing to fork out US20,00 and meet them half-way, but have yet to receive a response," said the official.
A former AHF official was also shocked with the sudden rise in the ACT sanction fees.
"When we initiated the ACT, it was to move Asian hockey to a higher level by playing in an annual tournament because the continent was far behind European teams which only needed to cross borders by bus to play friendlies or tournaments to improve.
"If the present batch of AHF officials want to turn it into a money-making event, they have got their priorities all wrong," said the former AHF official.
The AHF had charged a sanction fee of US10,000 for Malaysia to host the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan, where Malaysia failed to clinch the Junior World Cup ticket.
"We agreed to pay US10,000 for the Junior Asia Cup, believing it would help Malaysia's cause to qualify for the Junior World Cup by having home ground advantage.
"But the ACT is not a qualifier and it does not even qualify for International Hockey Federation (FIH) ranking points.
"The ACT is just to improve Asian hockey, which lacks tournaments, and so we believe that by imposing hefty sanction fees, it no longer serves its purpose," said the MHC official.
Japan, Bangladesh and Malaysia placed bids for the ACT, and the AHF have struck out Japan because they hosted the last event.
Then there is also the issue of title sponsors and TV rights which the AHF wants to control: "If AHF agree with meeting MHC at the half-way mark of US20,000 then we can continue with other negotiations which involves title sponsors and TV rights. If not, discussing about the other two issues is worthless at this moment."
India won the inaugural title in Ordos, while Pakistan were champions in Doha and Kakamigahara. Malaysia finished third in all three editions.