It's Olympians vs incumbents as the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd (MHAL) goes to polls today. The Olympians led by Gurbax Singh Grewal, Merwyn Fernandis and Joaquim Carvalho, take on the ruling group led by president Manga Singh Bakshi and secretary Ram Singh Rathore.

Ram Singh Rathore and Joaquim Carvalho
Ram Singh Rathore and Joaquim Carvalho 

The player group's chief spokesperson Carvalho yesterday said the ruling group had included many family members as voting members while denying the same to women Olympians Selma D'Silva and Eliza Nelson — both members of the gold medal-winning 1982 Asian Games squad.

"We do not subscribe to the view that only players make better administrators, but we strongly believe that players can do better than the present lot of businessmen," said Carvalho.

The players' group has a first-time woman candidate in international Neena Rane fighting for a post on the managing committee and Carvalho promised that the age-old MHAL constitution would be amended to give memberships to hockey clubs and players.

Rathore meanwhile, countered Carvalho's claims of membership asking why Fernandis was not given membership when Carvalho's aide Gurbax Singh was in power a few years ago. Finally, Rathore took a jibe at Carvalho, saying: "I will not go to the government of Maharashtra to cancel the lease of MHAL if I lose the election and expect the same from Carvalho."

In July 2012, Carvalho led a group of Olympians and former players to meet the then deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar following which the MHAL's lease was cancelled via a government order dated October 17, 2012.