New Delhi: Hockey India lambasted the Indian Hockey Federation for trying to lure players for its unsanctioned World Series Hockey league, saying such efforts by IHF were "blatant anti-national campaign" which will lead to "slow poisoning" of the national game.
Even though the event is not recognised by the International Hockey Federation, the IHF, in collaboration with Nimbus, is all set to organise the multi-million dollar franchise-based WSH league across different cities of the country in December.
"We have learnt that a World Series Hockey (WSH) League has been proposed to be conducted in India in December this year. This event, promoted by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), is unsanctioned by FIH and has serious implications for both players and officials who participate in this unsanctioned event," HI said in a statement.
"It (IHF) is desperately trying to throw baits to woo the players and officials for the WSH, fully aware that this is an unsanctioned FIH event which attracts penalties and suspensions for violations."
"In addition, the dates for WSH League have been deliberately kept, so that it clashes with the National coaching camps for the Olympic Qualifiers. This is nothing but a blatant anti-national campaign by IHF to ensure the slow poisoning of Indian Hockey," it added.
HI held IHF responsible for eight-time champions India's failure to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Under the Indian Hockey Federation, India failed to qualify for the Olympic Games at Beijing in 2008. This was the first time in 80 years that India went unrepresented in the hockey competition at the Olympic Games. This was nothing short of a national catastrophe as Indian hockey plunged to a new low," it said.
"During the IHF period, India, apart from not qualifying for the Beijing Olympics, performed abysmally in the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games 2006, finishing 11th, 6th and 5th respectively," HI said in a release.
"However, the team performed much better under Hockey India in the next edition of all these games in 2010. There was a marked improvement in the results as India finished 8th, silver medalist and bronze medalist respectively at the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games," HI said.
"Now IHF is hell-bent to sabotage India's qualification chances for the London Olympic Games in 2012."
HI also said that in collaboration with FIH, it will be organising a franchise-based tournament on the lines of the Indian Premier League from 2013 and had already sought a 45-day window for the event from the world body.
"Hockey India shall be conducting the International Men Hockey League under the aegis of the International Hockey Federation from 2013," the release said.
"Teams featuring the top current overseas World stars, besides India, will be drawn from various regions of the country. FIH has been requested for a 45-day window in their calendar for this event and also not to conduct any other tournament during this period."
"The teams will be owned by franchisees and matches will be played on a home-and-away basis as in the IPL cricket format. This league shall be held annually and will be part of the FIH-sanctioned events," the HI release added.