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Court reserves verdict on plea against Hockey India 'threats'

The Delhi High Court yesterday reserved its order on a plea alleging that Hockey India (HI) was threatening players to prevent them from taking part in the World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw reserved its order after conclusion of arguments by counsel appearing for the parties.

The tournament, a joint initiative of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Nimbus Sports, is to be held in the country between Dec 17 and Jan 22, 2012. The WSH is not sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which recognises the HI as the official custodian of the national sport in the country.

Former player and coach Joachim Carvalho approached the court alleging that the HI, which is fighting legal battles with the IHF, was threatening players that if they took part in the WSH, they would not be selected for national duty.

Carvalho's counsel Jayant Bhushan said: "For the first time, our hockey players are going to get some money by playing in the WSH tournament and the HI is trying to deny them their right to play." Bhushan alleged that HI's preparatory camp for a total of 71 days was organised with the sole purpose of preventing the players from participating in the WSH.

Opposing Bhushan's arguments, Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhiok, appearing for the central government, said: "The government has no role in it and it has simply let out its stadia at commercial rates for organising the WSH."

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