Olympians threaten to return Shiv Chhatrapati awards

With the Mumbai Hockey Association’s (MHA) elections just three days away, ‘Players Group’, one of the contesting factions comprising Olympians like Gurbax Singh Grewal and Joaquim Carvalho, has threatened to return their Shiv Chhatrapati awards if the State Government fails to constitute a special committee to look into the working of MHA’s affairs.

“We players will return our Shiv Chhatrapati awards back to the government if there is no special committee formed to go into the working of the MHA affairs, which is run by a group of families on the lines of their private affairs,” Carvalho told reporters on Saturday.

In a strongly-worded appeal to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sports Minister Vinod Tawde, the Olympians have lashed out at the current incumbents, led by President Manga Singh Bakshi. “Former India women’s hockey player and Padma Shri award winner Selma D’Silva was unable to get MHA membership.

However, 61 memberships have been given to the family members of present MHA office bearers who have no connection with hockey,” alleged Carvalho before adding that while nearly 150 players had approached MHA for membership, only 14 requests were accepted.

If elected, the ‘Players Panel’ want to give top priority to renewal of MHA’s ground lease, give voting rights only to the clubs instead of individual members, and ensure women’s representation in MHA managing committee.

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