WSH to get FIH nod only after HI-IHF merger, says Negre

International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro  Negre on Tuesday urged rival bodies Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) to sort out their ‘ego problems’ in the interest of the sport in country.

IHF, organisers of the ambitious World Series Hockey (WSH), and HI have been given a month's time to thrash out their differences. Till then, the cash-rich league will remained an ‘unsanctioned’ event.

As if to make a point, HI announced the list of 48 Olympic probables on Monday for the national camp from March 5 in Bangalore. The WSH, which was postponed in December because of the Olympic qualifiers, is slated to begin on Wednesday. The league will have 59 matches spread across eight cities.

Negre, however, maintained that they were close to finding an agreement between IHF and HI following a series of talks in the last few days.

"We are listening to both sides. We are very close to an agreement but there are very small disputes which need to be sorted out. So, we have given both the parties one month's time to come together," Negre said at a press conference.

"I hope in the coming month they will reach an agreement. If there is an agreement today, we can find a solution (to WSH), but as long as it is not happening, WSH will remain a unsanctioned event.” 

The FIH chief, however, made it clear that they were not against the concept of WSH and they were not in favour of banning players for their appearance in the league.

"We are not against the concept of the WSH. There is a need for a strong professional league in India. But we can only sanction tournaments (domestic or international) organised by HI as FIH does not recognise IHF.

"The FIH is not here to sanction players. The FIH is always there for players, officials and umpires. We do not like to sanction anyone. We are here to promote hockey. If a player decides to play in the WSH, he is free. But problems will arise if HI and IHF fail to reach an agreement,” Negre said.

Nobbs' salary hike

Meanwhile, men’s hockey coach Michael Nobbs’ salary was on Monday hiked from 10,000 Australian dollars per month to 11,000 with immediate effect after India qualified for the 2012 Olympics, beating France 8-1 on Sunday.

Orders to this effect were issued by the Sports Authority of India.

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