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Indian hockey mess continues, questions raised on HI finances, elections

The days of factions, infighting and alleged administrative malpractices seem to be returning in Indian hockey.

While Hockey India grapples with the resignation of women’s chief coach Janneke Schopman and its long-serving CEO Elena Norman within days of each other, questions have now been raised on alleged financial irregularities and election process, specially involving secretary general Bhola Nath Singh, treasurer Sekar Manoharan and executive director Cdr. RK Srivastava.

Former Delhi Hockey secretary Mahesh Dayal, in a series of communiques to both the sports ministry and Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, has also questioned the validity of the current dispensation and the election process in 2022, claiming violation of the National Sports Code and seeking parity with other federations that have been declared guilty of the same.

“As elections have been stalled in other federations like gymnastics, volleyball, kabaddi etc but no action is being taken against Hockey India where elections were held after the (Delhi HC) judgement dated 16-08-2022…and still GoI MoYAS recognised these elections. Why?” Dayal has questioned.

The points raised by Dayal pertain to Bhola Nath contesting despite having completed his tenure with Hockey Jharkhand and being in his third term at Hockey India (after two terms as vice-president) without a cooling-off period.

He has also mentioned the presence of an age and tenure limit only for the president, secretary and treasurer and not being applicable at the district level, the absence of an arbitration committee and an ombudsman among others as examples of non-compliance with the Sports Code.

Bhola Nath, however, rubbished all allegations. “I came into Hockey Jharkhand for the first time in 2014, which makes this my third term and within the provisions of the code. Also, the first term as Hockey India VP was not a full term but only 18 months and so my election is not in violation of the rules,” Bhola Nath said, adding disgruntled elements have been raising non-issues.

Questions have also been raised on HI’s income-tax assessment and its finances in terms of sponsorship money and payments allegedly made to FIH.

Interestingly, Norman had also named the three officials as being more interested in power and responsible for making her position untenable in HI while Schopman had indicated the same while claiming ‘disrespect’. There is also a case on in Delhi HC over forensic audit of HI accounts.

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