Hockey India team gets SC nod

“The HI and IOA are permitted to send women’s team to participate at women’s world cup in Argentina,” a Bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and HK Gohkle said.
The Bench passed the order after Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports failed to produce any written communication to buttress that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognised it to send the team for World Cup beginning on August 26.

HI succeeded in placing before it a communication by the FIH which said that it only recognises HI to represent Indian team in international event.

Webb Roger, the acting Director General of FIH, in the communication had made it clear that HI can only send a team to participate in the Women’s World Championship.

Temporary arrangement
The apex court noted that the players who have been selected for participation in the World Cup by the HI and the IOA are the same as identified and selected by the government’s Sports Authority of India. While passing the order, the Bench made it clear that “this is a temporary arrangement as the team has to be sent to Argentina by August 21” for country’s participation in the sporting event.

“It did not accepted the plea of the Ministry that some more time be granted to explain the factual position about the composition of the team.”

To break the deadlock, the Bench had given opportunity to the Ministry to place before it by way of memo that the there was an assurance that the team sent by it for the World Cup would be accepted by the organisers in Argentina.

However, after an hour, its counsel, who was asked to take instruction in this regard, placed before the Bench a hurriedly prepared document, which only said that the Government has discussed the whole affair with FIH and was assured of the team’s participation in the World Cup.

This did not satisfy the Bench which gave credence to the e-mail communication received by HI from the FIH recognising it as the only body in India for hockey.

Supporting claim
“You (Ministry) produce the written communication (from the FIH),” the Bench said adding that it has not produced any document in support of its claim of representing Indian Hockey. The apex court passed on the petition moved by Hockey India challenging the government decision revoking recognition to it for allegedly flouting guidelines relating to age and tenure of officials.

The Bench wanted to know how a private body was not entitled to represent the sports at the international arena and made a reference of cricket where Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) being a private body was representing Team India.
“Is HI different from BCCI. How is BCCI permitted to send the Indian team?” the Bench asked the counsel for the Ministry who said that aspect was also being looked into by the Government.

It also noted that the Government itself had earlier given provisional recognition to the HI till December 2010.

From the beginning, the Bench was concerned as to how under such circumstance, the team would participate in the World Cup.

“What will happen to the team. How will it go. Will the international body (FIH) accept the team only on the ground that it is our national and internal matter,” the Bench observed during the hearing.

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