New Delhi: Indian Olympic Association on Tuesday, termed International Hockey Federation's decision to strip India of this year's Champion's Trophy hockey event as "uncalled for" and asked the world body to restore the high-profile tournament to the country.
Expressing surprise at the FIH decision to shift the December 3-11 tournament from India, IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said that such a step would harm the game not only in the country but all over the world.
"The decision is most unfortunate and uncalled for and we hope that FIH will rescind it and hold the tournament in New Delhi as per schedule," Malhotra said in a statement
"Hockey is India's national game and a huge number of hockey fans are keenly awaiting to watch Champions Trophy at the Dhyan Chand stadium."
"The huge success of World Cup and hockey competition in the Commonwealth Games is a clear testimony of the popularity of the game and it needs further push and encouragement. FIH should talk to IOA, which represents the IOC in the country. I hope FIH will keep New Delhi as venue for the Champions Trophy," Malhotra added.
The IOA chief held Sports Minister Ajay Maken responsible for the "mess" in hockey in the country and said he has been cautioning him against dabbling in National Sports Federations.
"I don't know what is his real agenda. But he has landed the country in another unnecessary controversy. Thank God, the Sports Development Bill got scuttled, otherwise India would have faced problem from IOC and its participation in London Olympics and all other international competitions including Asian Games and Commonwealth Games."
"The FIH decision is the first warning signal. But we are puzzled by the decision as we had assured FIH of all cooperation," he said.
The main reason for FIH's decision to strip the country of the tournament was the running of affairs of the game by two bodies - Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation - under an agreement brokered by Sports Ministry, but Malhotra said the IOA had never recognised it.
"I had assured FIH Chief Leandro Negre that IOA is strongly against any government intervention in the sports bodies and it does not recognise the so called arrangement worked out by the sports ministry between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation," he said.
"IOA had told FIH to keep dealing with HI just like we do. So where is the problem, We don't understand FIH's posturing. We have made our stand very clear (to FIH)," Malhotra said.