Mumbai: Indian Hockey Federation (IHF)on Friday questioned the legality of Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) move to form a three-member committee to decide whether IHF or its rival Hockey India (HI) is the legal body to run the game, terming the action a contempt of the High Court order.
Also reacting to Hockey India's plan to float a new league in competition to its own World Series Hockey, IHF termed it as "unauthorised and illegal", and threatened to take legal action to stop the HIL, scheduled for January-February, 2013.
"IOA should have known better than to ignore the order passed by the Delhi High Court on 21.5.2010 quashing the illegal suspension and disaffiliation of IHF by IOA and Government of India on a writ filed by IHF," said IHF's secretary general Ashok Mathur in a media release.
The 3-member committee has been formed to decide whether IHF or Hockey India (HI) is the legal body to run the game.
"Formation of a Committee by IOA to decide on an issue which had already been decided by the Hon'ble Delhi High Court by declaring IHF as the sole governing body for hockey in India not only reflects its disrespect but [also] contempt of the Hon'ble Court by its open violation of the court order," Mathur said.
The IOA committee comprised Wrestling Federation of India president GS Mander, Indian Weightlifting Federation president Birendra Prasad Baishya and Handball Federation of India secretary-general SM Bali.
"The Indian Hockey Federation declined to be a part of this theatre of the absurd [by] expressing its total lack of confidence in the Committee - how could 3 persons who were part of the IOA conspiracy to unseat IHF be expected to reverse their own decision?" Mathur said.
According to Mathur, High Court had also "forced the Government to withdraw its provisional recognition of Hockey India" through its order dated August 5, 2010.
"Notably prior to that in a meeting held at Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 30th July, 2010, attended by the representatives of IHF, HI and IOA, the ministry made it clear that HI, being a private body, is not entitled to any benefits from the government even if it assumes the character of a public body at a later date."
Mathur also claimed that the Delhi High Court order, which he said had gone unchallenged by IOA and the sports ministry, stripped HI of its "self-appointed" role of national federation for hockey in the country.
Since HI has conceded "it was a private body", it is not "entitled to conduct official tournaments in India which is the sole prerogative of a National Federation which in this case is IHF," Mathur contended.
"It is in this context that one should view HI's attempt to replicate the IHF-conducted WSH league. HI's attempt to organise its own league is unauthorised and illegal. IHF is open to taking legal recourse to stop these unauthorised domestic activities of HI," Mathur said.
The IHF official also said that Delhi High Court had allowed HI to hold elections subject to IOA and the union government issuing a statement to media "confirming the status of IHF as the sole National Federation."
Claiming that both IOA and the government had gone back on their commitment "for reasons known only to them," Mathur said as a result "the elections of the HI scheduled for 28th July, 2010, were stayed."
"Eventually HI election was cleared by the Supreme Court only after receiving the assertion from Hockey India that they are a private entity.
"The Supreme Court had only given an ad interim relief to HI to field the Indian Team in international tournaments with the help of IOA on the basis of HI's affiliation with FIH till the outcome of the case. This was only because HI has an affiliation with FIH. As such the mandate for organising domestic activities remains with the IHF as per the High Court judgement," Mathur claimed.