Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pressure on Gill to resign as Hockey Chief

By now, the reign of former Punjab top cop KPS Gill as headman (President) of the Indian Hockey Federation is acknowledged by all to be a disaster for Indian hockey. Coaches have been juggled up and down, players complain of ill-treatment and the national squad under-performs to an incredible degree. They did well in patches, but overall the performance has been roughly the same for the past many years: under-performing. The last disaster was the failure at the Olympic trials and the team failed to qualify for the Olympics, a disaster for Indian hockey of a very high level. And yet, when KPS Gill was blamed by a wide section of the press, former players and other people associated with the sport, he refused to take responsibility and kept on promising a better performance in the future.
The Government also shrugged its hands and claimed that it could not intervene due to non-interference in the activities of a sporting body, a claim that almost nobody believed. But this is how the matter rested, since Gill refused to step down and nobody else could force him to. This is how matters rested till a sting operation by a TV channel showed the powerful Secretary of the IHF (K Jothikumaran) accepting a bribe to get a player into the squad in a most shameful display; he was forced to step down. And this is when another Gill (MS Gill, the new Sports Minister) started applying pressure on KPS Gill to step down:

A day after Indian Hockey Federation secretary K Jothikumaran quit in disgrace, with a news channel showing him accepting a bribe for selecting a player in the national team, the heat turned on IHF president K P S Gill. With sports minister M S Gill and a host of MPs on Tuesday calling for his head following the fresh scandal, the IHF chief's stated desire to continue as the helmsman of Indian hockey at least till 2010 now seems to be a pipe dream.
Meanwhile, the Indian Olympic Association has convened an emergency meeting of its executive committee on April 28 to "take necessary action in the interest of sports". IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said he would meet the sports minister over the issue.

The claim is that the Federation is independent of Government control and hence the Government cannot force changes in the officialdom. This is hogwash, the Government can easily take action if a person is found to be non-performing and causing a game that we call the national sport to become a non-happening event in the country.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 6:29 AM