FIH spells no to IPL-style hockey league

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New York, Jan 28: Plans to initiate a hockey league in India along the lines of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) may be derailed by Hockey's international governing body the FIH. The FIH apparently does not recognize India's Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) which is behind the initiative along with sports agency Nimbus.
Responding to the IHF's announcement of their plans of staring a World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament late last year, the FIH has told member countries to stay away from the League or face Olympic expulsion.
"Any player or national association that participated in the World Series Hockey might be barred from participating in an FIH tournament, including the Olympic Games," said the governing body in an official letter.
The objection to the WSH perhaps comes because the FIH has been working in conjunction with Hockey India (HI), the newly appointed hockey body which it does recognize, to set up a league of its own in India. It further maintains that the WSH may conflict with the FIH's major events, which may compromise an athlete's participation in their national team programme.
The IHF for it part contends that it is recognised by both the Indian government and the International Olympic Association and therefore, no doubts of its legality arises.
"The Delhi High Court struck down its de-recognition by the Indian Olympic Association last year. As a result the IHF remains a proper member of the IOA," according to IHF secretary general Ashok Mathur.
The IHF further clarified that WSH "does not clash with any event in the international calendar". It couldn't see any lawful reason why the FIH would prevent any player from taking part in its event. World Series Hockey will not prevent players from representing their national teams including India, it stated.
So far, already over 120 players from India and overseas have entered into agreements to participate in the event. There is no telling where the conflict between the IHF and FIH will proceed to, but with the latter unlikely to back down, something is sure to give in the near future.
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