The International Hockey Federation has escalated its dispute with Indian hockey authorities by moving the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy away from India.
The schedule and line-up of the tournament, originally scheduled for New Delhi, will be determined when the host is announced, however the event will take place during the same window of December 3-11. As a result of no longer hosting the Champions Trophy, India has been invited to play in the Champions Challenge to be held in South Africa in November.
A replacement host is expected to be announced within a week.
“We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India,” said FIH president Leandro Negre. “It is difficult for the teams, the organizers and the fans. But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport.”
The dispute centres around an agreement to co-operate in hockey’s governance in India made between the FIH-recognised Hockey India and the former governing body the Indian Hockey Federation. The IHF is also backing a ‘World Series Hockey’ competition to be held in India from mid-December. The FIH regards the World Series as an unsanctioned competition.
The FIH says that the governance structure of the sport of hockey in India is at stake. And that it is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes that there only be one governing body for any one sport in any country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organize national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions.
Dr. Michael Green, two-time Olympian and chairman of the FIH athlete’s committee added: “The first priority has to be the athletes, and while this was a tough decision for the FIH to make, I feel that they have ultimately made the choice that is best for the athletes involved.”
The FIH is in the final stages of reviewing bids from other nations that are willing and able within the scheduled timeframe to host an event of the magnitude of the Champions Trophy.
The FIH says it will continue to monitor the governance structure in India and hopes that a resolution can be found before it begins to affect future events set to be held in India. The next event scheduled to be hosted in India is the Olympic Qualification Tournament in February.