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Hockey world body should have more Indians: Gill

Taking off from the assertion that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) receives a large quantum of its revenues from India, Union Sports Minister M.S. Gill Friday said the country should have more representation and greater say in the world body.

Gill went a step further to say that the FIH panel should have more Indian umpires.

‘If FIH is earning half its revenues from India, the second best being the Netherlands, then the Indians should have adequate representation on the world body, ‘ said Gill at an interactive session with the media here Friday.

‘I told FIH chief Leandro Negre that World hockey has to have people from India and Pakistan, otherwise there is something amiss. Whether it is management of hockey or the referral system, there should be more people from this part of the world (Asia).’

Gill said after the World Cup success, India should organise more tournaments to popularise the game.

‘Mr. Negre is very keen to have more tournaments in India. He is very happy with the way the World Cup has been organised. We have world-class stadiums in Delhi and Chandigarh and we can use them for hosting top tournaments.

‘Yes, there were glitches during the tournament, but these things will be looked into. The World Cup has been a learning experience for us and it will help us in the preparation of the Commonwealth Games,’ he said.

Gill said he has taken note of Negre’s comments that elections should be held latest by May 31.

‘The HI elections should take place in a proper way. As I have said before, it should be free and fair and Mr. Negre shares the sentiment. The formula for fair election is to have clean electoral role, an independent presiding officer and a secret ballot. We will see to it that its completed in May.’

Gill said he had no complains with the performance of the Indian team and they should now look forward to Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

‘The players will have to train hard with dedication and discipline. As long as they are giving their best for the country, nobody should have any complains. The same goes to the coaches.

‘I am sure we will be going up the ladder,’ he said.

He said the government will pull all stops to popularise hockey.

‘I was told that in Australia and Holland they have more than 400 synthetic turfs and here we are struggling to have 100 turfs,’ Gill said.

‘Also the turfs are easy to maintain in wet and soggy conditions, but in cities like Delhi, Lahore and Amritsar, where temperatures are high, the maintainance is difficult. But these are no excuses and we will have to ensure better facilities.’

Gill hoped Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell is satisfied with the pace of the work.

‘Most of the venues will be completed by May, except for the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium which will be ready by early June. We had to squeeze in a little bit of time because of the changes made for the opening ceremony at the request of our cultural committee,’ he said.

‘Earlier, there were doubts whether the stadiums will be ready in time, but now no one says anything because the things are falling in place.’

Gill said there is a proper coordination between various agencies and the Group of Ministers working to organise Commonwealth Games.

‘There are so many things that need to be looked after. For example, the Organising Committee (OC) will have to fix the travel arrangements of 15,000 athletes right from their air tickets to stay here which in itself is a complex thing. The OC should ensure that these things are taken care of,’ he said.

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