HI poll deferred, India's participation in WC in jeopardy

Last Updated 24 January 2010, 04:27 IST

Returning officer of the election G S Mander, who after taking legal advice directed HI to defer the election till a final decision is taken by the Court, hinted that holding the poll before the World Cup might not be possible.

"Its not possible to hold the election on February 7 and I doubt it can be held before the Hockey World Cup because from now on a fresh 21-day notice has to be served to all the parties concerned. Technically speaking it is not possible to hold the election before the World Cup," Mander said.

"After getting the order, I consulted my legal adviser and came to the conclusion that this matter can't be solved in a day or two -- it will take time. HI now has to appeal against the stay as par the legal procedures. That means if you go by the rules it will take time," he said.

While awarding the mega event, which is scheduled for February 28-March 13 here, the game's world governing body FIH initially said a democratically elected body has to be in place or the tournament would be shifted out of India.

The FIH, however, later softened its stand and said World Cup would be held in India, but the hosts would be barred from playing in it unless election is held.

But the HI was hopeful of managing the crisis."We don't know what to do right now. Till now we have not got the papers of the order. Once we get it, will definitely approach a senior bench for an urgent hearing because the World Cup is knocking at our door," HI Treasurer Narender Batra said.

"FIH and the government are also aware of all the developments and are concerned. FIH has to understand our legal compulsion before taking any decision because we can't bypass a court order," he added.

Earlier, incensed at Hockey India's move to ignore the 60-year-old Rajasthan Hockey Association and give affiliation to the newly formed ad-hoc body on January 10, RHA officials moved to the court.

The office bearers of HI met on saturday for an emergency meeting and decided to put off the election.

"Its really very disturbing for us. We had to postpone the election due to the order. Dr Rajkumar Jaipal, who was the president of the RHF has filed the petition. But Before the January 11 Executive Board meet of HI, we cleared 26 states and four institutional boards and Rajkumar was a signatory to all the decisions," Batra said.

"Then on that meeting, we gave affiliation to four other states including Delhi, Punjab and Pondicherry. The FIH observer (Antonio von Ondarza) was also present in the meet," he added.

The election, which have been postponed twice, were supposed to be held last year, but were pushed back to January 29, and had to be deferred again after HI was not able to give 21 days' notice to the Sports Ministry for the same.

(Published 24 January 2010, 04:27 IST)

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