Shetty bats for single national body

Shetty also lashed out at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for stripping India of the right to host the Champions Trophy in December. The working agreement, signed in July with both organisations deciding to function together till December 2012 without a formal merger, was panned by the IOA and the FIH.

Shetty said the only reason the Champions Trophy was moved from India to New Zealand was because of money. “We all know that the main issue was not the problem of having two bodies in the country; the issue was money. “FIH decided to move the tournament because the Reserve Bank of India is witholding $5 lakh (Rs 2.35 crore) from the World Cup last year, which FIH think is due to them. They were also worried about the absence of a title sponsor for the Champions Trophy,” he said.

Stressing the need for a single body to administer the sport in the country, he went on, “But it takes time to sort out issues. The way forward towards forming that one association is for us to sit with HI and come to a logical conclusion in time,” Shetty said.

“We still have a long way to go. But one thing is certain -- the government is trying everything in its power to sort out the issue and we have full faith that the government will do what is needed for the betterment of hockey.

“The positive thing is now the IOA (Indian Olympic Association) has come on board. Earlier, they were not a part of the meetings. It is necessary for the IOA to be part of the discussions because they are the premier sports body in India. I’m confident we can come to some agreement within the next couple of months, so that the Olympic Qualifiers are not threatened,” he added.

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