Players play it safe as IHF and FIH slug it out

“The first thing every hockey player wants to do is represent the country,” said Indian striker Arjun Halappa, here on Friday. “Playing in the Olympics is a big dream for anybody and it won’t substitute anything,” added Halappa reacting to FIH’s diktat asking member countries to either stay away from WSH or risk Olympic exclusion. “However, if the issue is resolved, it will be a great benefit for Indian hockey. Not only will it provide a stage for young players to exhibit their skills it will also help unearth talent.

“Look what Premier Hockey League (PHL) did. It helped us find Sardara Singh, Shivendra Singh and many others. Apart from that, it will provide a major financial boost for the sport and the money could be used to provide a big thrust to hockey.”

Ace drag-flicker VR Raghunath too opined the same. “The country comes first,” he noted.
Meanwhile IHF President RK Shetty said he is more than willing to talk to FIH and can’t understand why the international body is acting like a big brother. “I am the last person to approach the court. I am willing to talk to (FIH President Leonardo) Negre. But, is he willing to have talks with me?” questioned Shetty.

“What if a European country were to host such a league. In fact so many leagues are happening across the world. Why is FIH against this? We are the officially recognised body to run hockey in India and I don’t understand why FIH can’t accept it.”

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