A day after Hockey India blasted the Indian Hockey Federation for trying to lure players for its unsanctioned World Series Hockey league, a fuming IHF retorted back, saying HI is a "puppet body" (of FIH) which is acting "as a servile agent of international bosses".
"It is very unfortunate that HI proposes to deal in one-upmanship while continuing to act as a servile agent of international bosses, for reasons best known to them. It is thus no surprise to see that HI is nothing but a puppet body controlled by foreign interests," IHF said in a statement.
Welcoming HI's plan of organising a proposed league under the aegis of the International Hockey Federation from 2013, IHF questioned FIH's interests in a domestic tournament. "The IHF finds it heartening to see HI announce a proposed league albeit one without a name, no players, no infrastructure, no concrete plan and a possible start date over two years away," it said. "Why else would HI take the extraordinary step of announcing plans for a domestic league under the sanction and control of the FIH?" IHF questioned.
"International sports federations do not sanction or run domestic sports leagues. For example, FIFA does not sanction or involve itself with the management of the English Premier League nor does the ICC sanction or run the Indian Premier League. Infact, in hockey, the Dutch League, Spanish League and Australian League have been running for years with no sanction or any sort of management of the FIH!
"The fact that HI has decided to tread this new path in running a domestic league under the control and management of FIH is a testament to the fact that HI is merely a puppet body controlled by foreigners with no interest in the development of Indian hockey," the statement added.
HI on Friday, had said that IHF was indulging in "blatant anti-national campaign" by trying to lure players for the unsanctioned WSH and such efforts will lead to "slow poisoning" of the national game.
Even though the event is not recognised by FIH, IHF, in collaboration with Nimbus Sport, is all set to organise the multi-million dollar franchise-based WSH league across different cities of the country from December 17 to January 22, 2012.
IHF also said that the inaugural edition of WSH does not coincide with the national camp for the London Olympic qualifiers, as stated by HI. "It is a matter of record that the proposed pre-competition training camp for preparation of the London Olympic Qualifiers is scheduled to be staged from January 24, 2012 after the completion of the World Series Hockey on January 22."
"Infact, given that the best 140 Indian players will be playing in WSH, it provides an ideal platform for selectors to view all the players in action in a competitive environment and thus make informed selections for the pre-Olympic Qualifiers," the IHF release added.
IHF also said over 200 players, including 140 Indians (approximately) and top eight coaches and technical officials of the world have already confirmed their participation in the WSH.
"Each of these have already signed on and received payments from World Series Hockey. Virtually, every player has signed 3-year exclusive contracts with World Series Hockey," it said.
"IHF and WSH would see any form of inducement to break these contracts by any third party as illegal and will act swiftly and vigorously against such third parties," the statement added.
It further claimed that since its inception, IHF has staged seven domestic events annualy across different age groups, while in comparison HI has conducted only two national tournaments in the last three years.