India have Champions Trophy taken away from them by FIH

Tuesday, 06 September 2011
By Duncan Mackay

Indian_hockey_v_PakistanSeptember 6 - India have been stripped of its right to host the Champions Trophy in December, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced today.

The FIH took the decision to move the event from New Delhi after India failed to find a solution to problems with the administration of the sport in the country.

A replacement host for the event is expected to be named within a week, the FIH promised.

The schedule and line-up of the 2011 Champions Trophy will be determined when the host is announced, however the event will take place during the same window of December 3-11.

As a result of no longer hosting the Champions Trophy, India has been invited to play in the Champions Challenge to be held in South Africa in November.

"We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India," said FIH President Leandro Negre.

"It is difficult for the teams, the organisers and the fans.

"But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport."

At issue is the governance structure of the sport of hockey in India.

The FIH recognised Hockey India as the national governing body following the suspension of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) following a bribery scandal.

But IHF's status was restored by an Indian court last year.

India had been threatened with losing the World Cup last year over the same issue. 

"It is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes that there is only be one governing body for any one sport in any country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organise national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions," the FIH said in a statement.

The Champions Trophy, which was launched in 1980, is the FIH's most prestigious annual tournament.

It features the world's top-ranked teams competing in a round robin format, and this year's event is particularly significant as it will be an important part of the build-up to next year's Olympics in London.

The tournament has been won for the last three years by Australia.

Michael Green, who played for Germany in two Olympics and is now chairman of the FIH Athlete's Committee, backed the decision.

"The first priority has to be the athletes, and while this was a tough decision for the FIH to make, I feel that they have ultimately made the choice that is best for the athletes involved," he said.

The FIH is in the final stages of reviewing bids from other nations that are willing and able within the scheduled timeframe to host an event of the magnitude of the Champions Trophy.

The FIH will continue to monitor the governance structure in India and hopes that a resolution can be found before it begins to affect future events set to be held in India, Negre said. 

The next event scheduled to be hosted in India is the Olympic Qualification Tournament in February.

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