FIH announces Pro League venues for upcoming season; Rourkela added as second Indian host city
NEW DELHI: Odisha's Rourkela was on Tuesday added as the second Indian venue, besides Bhubaneswar, for the upcoming FIH Pro League season beginning in October with the matches to be held at the stadium built to host the men's World Cup in January.
A brand new stadium has been built in Rourkela to host some of the matches of the FIH men's World Cup to be held from January 13 to 29.
Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium, which will host most of the matches of the World Cup, is the other Indian venue which will also stage FIH Pro League games.
Other venues which will host matches of the FIH Pro League from October 28, 2022 to July 5, 2023 are Newcastle and Hobart in Australia, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero in Argentina, Antwerp (Belgium), London, Eindhoven and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand.
"As already announced in March, a new schedule - based on a series of 'mini-tournaments' where several teams will gather in one venue to play two matches against each other - will come into force for this new Pro League season," the FIH said in a statement.
"This format will have a major positive impact on players' welfare and the environment, thanks to a substantial reduction in the amount of travel needed for each team and the officials.
"Another great advantage of this revised format is that it increases the number of dates available for athletes to compete in their domestic leagues and club competitions," the statement further read.
The FIH also said that it will implement the system of promotion and relegation from the upcoming season of Pro League.
While the team finishing last will be relegated as usual, the side winning the newly-added 2022 FIH Nations Cup will be promoted to the Pro League season in 2023.
"The integration of the promotion-relegation principle will substantially add to the excitement around Pro League. Also, the new format is beneficial to everyone, athletes, National Associations, clubs and fans in particular," FIH CEO Thierry Weil said.
"We're glad to welcome some new venues for this season; this is great for the growth of our sport! We're very much looking forward to the fourth edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League!" he added.
CoA initiates poll process at Hockey India, appoints returning officer
NEW DELHI: Former electoral officer in the Bihar government, Ajay Nayak has been appointed as the returning officer for the Hockey India elections, to be conducted by October 9.
The appointment was made during a meeting held between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the sport in the country currently.
The meeting was attended by FIH acting president Seif Ahmed, CEO Thierry Weil and members of the CoA, Justice Anil R Dave, SY Quraishi and Zafar Iqbal.
AK Majumdar has been appointed as the assistant returning officer.
"They will be assuming their positions with immediate effect," the national federation said in a statement.
The two-member FIH delegation was in the national capital to discuss the way forward and avert a possible suspension of Hockey India, currently placed under the CoA on the directive of the Delhi High Court.
The FIH categorically stated that it "does not consider the court as third party", ruling out the possibility of a ban with only months left for the men's World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29.
PHF launches probe into corruption allegations against former star player Shahbaz Ahmed
KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has launched a probe into the corruption allegations against former secretary and legendary player Shahbaz Ahmed, its chief said on Monday.
PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar, who was re-elected to the top job last week, confirmed at a press conference that there were charges of corruption against Shahbaz who was famous for his spectacular dribbling skills during his playing days."Yes, there are serious charges of corruption against Shahbaz including misuse of funds and an inquiry is being held against him. If he is found guilty of corruption he could also face prison," Khokar said.
Shahbaz, who captained Pakistan to Champions Trophy and World Cup titles in 1994, was brought in as secretary of the federation by Khokar when he became President in 2015.
Shahbaz served as secretary until December 2018 before he resigned in disgust, complaining about lack of funds in Pakistan hockey.
Khokar, who won his third term as president, has now brought in Haider Hussain as secretary in place of Asif Bajwa. Hussain is also a former international player.
Khokar himself has been under fire as the national team's performance has not shown any signs of improvement during his tenure.
Pakistan failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in India after they finished fifth in the Asia Cup. In the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Pakistan were placed seventh.
But Khokar defended himself, insisting that he had spent money out of his pocket and used his personal contacts to secure sponsorship for the PHF.
"If it had not been for the Sindh government which has given us grants, there would be no hockey in Pakistan. What am I supposed to do without proper funds for the game?"
We desperately wanted a podium finish at CWG after World Cup debacle, says Indian women's hockey team's midfielder Salima Tete
NEW DELHI: Talented midfielder of the Indian women's hockey team Salima Tete revealed that a podium finish was the only target that the team had at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after a disastrous World Cup campaign earlier this year.
The Indian women's hockey won a bronze medal in Birmingham after beating New Zealand 2-1 in the penalty shootout.
However, at the World Cup held in Spain and the Netherlands earlier this year which preceded the CWG, India finished a disappointing ninth.
"After we had a bad campaign at the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup Spain and Netherlands 2022, the team's aim and our focus was very clear. We wanted to do well at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, there was no other option," she said in 'Hockey Te Charcha' programme.
"We were sure we had to get a medal before returning back to India. Kuch na kuch karna hi hai (have to do something)," she added.
At 20, Salima is one of the youngest members of the Indian women's hockey team. Although still new in the set-up, she credits the sport for changing her life.
"Playing for India has really changed my life a lot, it has given me everything I could have asked for. I just want to keep performing for the country and win more matches," Salima noted.
Salima added that she idolises former India captain Asunta Lakra and Nikki Pradhan, both of whom have been mentors to her.
"I came to hockey through the junior nationals and I had a role model in Asunta Lakra. I wanted to become like her. When I saw her playing. I felt that if she can do it, so can I.
"Nikki Pradhan is a very important figure in my development and has always had enough time for me. My family too is very supportive and they don't think of the difficulties, my family, my parents and siblings are very supportive," she said.
Salima also revealed that interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the team's return from Birmingham turned out to be very motivating.
"Meeting the PM was a very big thing for someone like me. All of us meeting the PM is a source of motivation. It is a motivation for us to keep working hard and achieve good results."
HI Mess: FIH delegation in India, to hold meeting with CoA on Wednesday
NEW DELHI: A delegation from International Hockey Federation (FIH) is in the capital to discuss the way forward and avert a possible suspension of Hockey India, currently placed under a Committee of Administrators.
A two-member delegation, led by newly-appointed acting president Seif Ahmed, arrived here on Monday for an emergency meeting to assess progress made with regards to the adoption of a new Constitution at HI.
India is scheduled to host the 2023 Men's World Cup.
The FIH delegation is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Delhi High Court-appointed three-member CoA on Wednesday.
The delegation is also scheduled to meet senior sports ministry officials, besides top officials of the Odisha government, the hosts for next year's World Cup.
The FIH had last month sought a "detailed timeline" from the CoA on adoption of an amended Constitution and holding of fresh elections at HI.
If the HI fails to adopt a Sports Code-compliant Constitution at the earliest, the country runs the risk of losing the hosting rights of the World Cup, scheduled to be held from January 13 to 29.
According to a source, the required amendments in the HI Constitution has already been made and elections to the executive board of the sports body are expected to be held on October 1.
"The CoA members are scheduled to meet FIH delegation on Wednesday. The amendments to the HI Constitution, as per Delhi High Court orders, have already been done and it will be put before the FIH on Wednesday," the source told PTI.
"As per the Delhi High Court orders, some amendments, like removing illegal posts, were needed to be made in HI Constitution to bring it in line with the National Sports Code, which has been done. Now the FIH will have to ensure whether it is in line with their Constitution.
"The CoA is in no mood to hang in there, and plans to hold the elections of HI executive board by October 1," he added.
The world body delegation met with senior sports ministry officials on Tuesday and is set to visit next year's World Cup host cities -- Bhubaneswar and Rourkela -- on Thursday and Friday to oversee preparations.
It will also hold discussions with senior Odisha government officials, including Vineel Krishna, Secretary Sports and Youth Services and Special Secretary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Besides the FIH acting president, the world body delegation includes CEO Thierry Weil.
The FIH CEO had last month said they were hopeful of hosting the World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to return after two-year hiatus in November
NEW DELHI: The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, an annual invitational international men's hockey tournament, is set to make a comeback after a two-year break in November this year.
The prestigious tournament didn't take place in the last two years due to COVID-19. The last time it was held in 2019, South Korea had emerged champions by beating India in the summit clash.
"We are all set to host the Premier Azlan Shah Cup in November this year. We have invited six teams including India and Australia and we hope our invitation will be accepted," an Asian Hockey Federation official told PTI.
Thank You Bhavesh Sir for opportunity to reinitiate your website and provide you with promotional package of SEO. We'are also happy to in-invent your club in the system and looking forward to let you use our system full range of functionality which is not available with any Indian Sports Provider.
CWG 2022: Birmingham Commonwealth Games begins with a spectacular opening ceremony
Flagbearers @Pvsindhu1 and @manpreetpawar07 lead #TeamIndia out in the Parade of Nations at the #B2022 Opening Ceremony.