WSH remains unsanctioned event for FIH despite HC relief

Despite receiving a shot in the arm from the Delhi High Court, which recently paved the way for Indian players' participation in the World Series Hockey, the FIH today said that the upcoming cash-rich league remains an "unsanctioned" event for the world body.

The Delhi High Court on Monday cleared the way for the players' participation in the WSH -- a joint initiative of rival Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sport -- provided WSH schedule does not clash with international commitments of the national team.

But International Hockey Federation chief executive officer, Kelly Fairweather reiterated that there was no question of sanctioning WSH as it is being orgainsed by IHF, which does not have the recognition of FIH.

"We have read the judgement and it actually reinforces the rules of FIH. As far as WSH is concerned, there is no change in our stance, it is an unsanctioned event because IHF is not a member of FIH," Fairweather said during the launch of the London Olympic Qualification tournament, to be held here from February 18-26.

"We have been clear about our position from the very beginning. The international calendar is packed. Where is the space? There are six qualification tournament till the Olympics, which means there is international hockey every week," he said.

"Anyone planning to play six weeks of a private league before the Olympics is certainly not serious about the game," he opined.

Joe Brasa
Jose Brasa will coach of the Chennai outfit in WSH. File Pic/AFP

The WSH was originally scheduled to held from December 17 to January 22 but the dates had to be postponed as it clashed with the hockey Olympic qualifiers. The tournament now will be held from February 29 to April 2.

Asked whether the FIH plans to impose sanctions on players who play in the WSH, Fairweather said, "The rules are very clear and we will go according to our rules. "But at the end of the day the players need to make their own decision."

Interestingly, former India coach Jose Brasa, who is an FIH master coach and presently in the country with the Ukraine women's team as an advisor, is also the coach of the Chennai outfit in the eight-team WSH.

"We can't stop anyone from joining any team. That's his or her personal decision. But our stance is pretty clear regarding WSH," the FIH CEO maintained.

Fairweather said that they were working day and night to organise the proposed IPL-style league, promoted jointly by FIH and HI last year. "That (the league) is still on the cards, but we will organise it when we are ready, when all the top players are available," he said.

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