FIH awards row: Indian hockey federation seeks apology from Belgium

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The FIH Hockey Stars Awards contention took a caller crook connected Wednesday with Hockey India (HI) penning a powerfully worded missive to the planetary hockey federation (FIH) seeking an apology from Hockey Belgium for its disapproval aft Indian players and coaches swept the accolades.

“We are requesting FIH CEO Mr. Thierry Weil to either kindly petition the Belgium federation to contented an authoritative nationalist apology for the demeaning comments connected the achievements of the Indian athletes and coaches connected societal media and if not past notation this substance to the FIH Governance Panel for thorough probe into what is discrimination/racial favoritism against Indian athletes and coaches,” HI president Gyanendro Ningombam wrote successful the letter, accessed by HT.

On October 6, a furore erupted successful the hockey satellite aft Indian players and coaches won each the 8 awards. Several apical players deed retired astatine FIH’s voting system, ridiculing it connected societal media.

World No.1 and satellite champions Belgium (they won golden astatine the Tokyo Olympics with India claiming bronze) represented by their federation expressed disappointment implicit the “failure of the voting system” aft nary of their players won immoderate grant contempt the Tokyo triumph. “This is not normal! The credibility and representation of our athletics is erstwhile again facing hard times. It’s a pity,” said the tweet connected the Belgium squad handle.

The HI connection said: “We judge that the nationalist statements of displeasure astatine the announcement of the Indian winners is highly disrespectful and not successful the tone of sportsmanship. Hockey India made large efforts to guarantee bully information crossed each categories from our state and present consciousness publically penalised for the full-hearted information and enactment of the Indian nominees.”

Though the FIH awards were established successful 1998, India won for the archetypal clip lone past year, successful 3 of the 8 categories.

“It is disappointing that the Belgium federation would similar to question the voting strategy and the legitimacy of the Indian winners than really instrumentality work for not encouraging much voting and supporting their athletes successful the archetypal place. The halfway of the substance is that these nationalist associations request to archetypal introspect to spot their existent level of information and involvement close from the commencement alternatively of present questioning the strategy erstwhile results are announced not successful their favour,” wrote Ningombam.

For the awards, 50% of the votes travel from nationalist associations—represented by captains and coaches, 25% from media and 25% from fans and players. Significantly, lone 79 of the 138 nationalist bodies voted—Africa (11 voted retired of 25), Europe (19 retired of 42), Oceania (3 retired of 8) and Pan America (17 retired of 30). Asia (29 retired of 33) had the champion percentage.

“It is shameful successful opposition that the European Hockey Federation (EHF) is sitting quiescent and not taking work for the deficiency of activation and seriousness successful voting by their Member Associations portion besides allowing their athletes and Member Associations undermine the results and showing disrespect to the winners. Indian athletes person legitimately won the polls yet the radiance of winning has been wholly undermined by specified antagonistic comments by chap athletes and National Associations. Is it just that these athletes are being enactment done specified harassment and intelligence intimidation?” Ningombam’s connection said.

“The objections connected behalf of the Belgium federation request to beryllium cautiously examined by the FIH Governance Panel for what is considered by myself arsenic a lawsuit of discrimination/racial discrimination, and however humiliating, mentally traumatic and insulting it is to the Indian athletes and coaches. Hockey India cannot basal by and let the efforts and achievements of the Indian athletes and coaches to beryllium questioned successful this manner.”

There were reports that the votes of a grounds 300,000 fans—a ample chunk from the Indian subcontinent—could person helped the Indian nominees win, particularly successful the euphoria pursuing the Olympics. FIH CEO Weil though said connected Monday that the winners would person remained the aforesaid adjacent without the votes of the fans. He has said FIH is apt to make a task unit to look into the awards system.

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