The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted Hockey India (HI) to send its women’s hockey team to Argentina to participate in the 12th Women’s Hockey World Cup championship starting Aug 29. The team of HI, a private sport association separate from the government recognised and K.P.S Gill-led Indian
Hockey Federation (IHF), will leave for Argentina Aug 21.
The HI’s women team got the apex court nod after the central government failed to inform it (court) whether the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which is organizing the world cup, would permit the IHF to participate in the event.
The government told the court that it had sent a communication to the FIH and a reply was awaited.
The FIH last week wrote a letter to sports ministry, reminding that the IHF had been derecognised by it way back in 2000 for not adhering to the world body’s guidelines.
In an earlier hearing, the government told the court that it was confident that the FIH would permit the team sponsored by the IHF to participate in the world cup.
Ironically, Hockey India which is recognized by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the FIH is not recognized by the Indian government.
An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale while listing the case for further hearing Aug 25 said that the HI and the IOA were permitted to send a hockey team for participation in the women’s world cup in Argentina Aug 29-Sep 11.
The court noted that the team selected by the HI and the IOA is the same that had been identified and selected by the Sports Authority of India.
However, the court made it clear that its order was not intended to accept the contention of the HI.
The court said that it was only a temporary arrangement having regard to the fact that the team has to leave for the event starting Aug 21.
The HI had moved the apex court challenging the withdrawal of its recognition by the central government.
The HI had contended that it was the sole body authorized to send its team to participate in the world cup as it was recognized by the FIH.
Earlier, when counsel for the government questioned how a private body could represent the country in an international event, the court pointed out that even the Board of Control for Cricket in India was a private body.
When senior counsel Indu Malhotra representing the IOA told the court that they were neutral on this issue, the court observed that IOA’s neutrality was helping Hockey India.
Appearing for Hockey India, senior counsel Rohinton Nariman and Ashok Desai told the court that their client has selected the team and there was little time left for them to make final arrangements before leaving for the host country.
The court was told that if the team was not allowed to leave then India would not be able to participate in the hockey championship.