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Court questions government on hockey coach’s plea

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government and Hockey India (HI) after taking note of a hockey coach’s plea alleging that the latter was threatening players to prevent them from taking part in the World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament starting next month.

The tournament, a joint initiative of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sport, is to be held in the country between Dec 17 and Jan 22, 2012. The WSH is not sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which recognises the HI as the official custodian of the national sport in the country.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the respondents seeking their reply within three days and fixed the matter for hearing Dec 7.

Former player and coach Joachim Carvalho approached the court alleging that the HI, which is fighting legal battles with the IHF, was threatening players that if they took part in the WSH they would not be selected for national duty.

Carvalho’s counsel Jayant Bhushan said: ‘For the first time, our hockey players are going to get some money by playing in the WSH tournament and the HI is trying to deny them their right to play.’

Opposing Bhushan arguments, Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok, appearing for the central government, said: ‘The government has no role in it and it has simply let out its stadia at commercial rates for organising the WSH.’

Counsel for the HI said that the matter was pending in the Supreme Court and the HI had been allowed by the Supreme court to select the national teams for men and women.

The WSH’s organisers claimed that the tournament was aimed at reinvigorating hockey here and to make it a sport of choice for youngsters. On the lines of IPL, the WSH would be played among eight franchisee-based teams.


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