Hockey India’s warning: Stay away from IHF league
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A day before the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) is to make a formal announcement about its new domestic league, questions are already being asked about the viability of the project. On Monday, Hockey India (HI) stuck down the venture, warning the current national players to stay away from, what one of its official called, the 'rebel league'.
HI secretary Narinder Batra, who so far claimed that the federation was not against any domestic venture that would bring money to the sport, cautioned that players who play the IHF's league may not find a place in the national side. "A packed 2011 calendar that includes preparations for the all-important Olympic qualifiers in February 2012 means there will be too many important series. I don't see how national team players can be part of the new league. And if they do, we won't be left with any other option but to look for new players," he said.
He insisted that in case those who have already signed contracts are having second thoughts, they will get full support from HI. "The IHF is a domestic body and it exists because of a court order. They cannot hold a league with foreign players in it. Any retired or former players can play the league but not the current set of players," he said.
However, it may not be as simple a choice for the players. Considering the chopping and changing prevalent in the national team, the players can be tempted to join the league that is offering lucrative contracts. Though, things can get complicated in case their employers are against the league.
Already, there is talk that Haryana Police doesn't want its players to go against HI. "Although we have signed the contract for the league, we are not sure what to do now. Although, the organisers have said we can back off if our employers don't allow us, there is no such thing written in the contracts," said a Haryana Police player.
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