Associate units express concern over HI's 'one association per state' policy

Unlike previous years, where teams fielded by Hockey Karnataka, BHA and Hockey Coorg could compete in various National championships, the new policy allows only one team per State.

There is also a worry that teams fielded by Hockey Karnataka consists primarily of players from either SAI or DYES.   -  Getty Images

Bengaluru Hockey Association (BHA) and Hockey Coorg expressed serious concern over Hockey India’s one State-one association policy, which came into effect on July 1.

Unlike previous years, where teams fielded by Hockey Karnataka and its associate members BHA and Hockey Coorg could compete in various National championships, the new policy allows only one team per State. This will rob several talented players of the chance to shine, BHA and Hockey Coorg office-bearers believe.

"We received a letter on this front in January. We replied asking them to reconsider, as such a move will kill the sport in the state.

Karnataka and Bangalore have produced so many Olympians, Arjuna awardees and medal winners in major events. Hockey is very popular in Karnataka. With three teams, more players were able to compete in nationals. Just one team means less opportunities for players,” BHA Secretary K. Krishnamurthy stated.

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There is also a worry that teams fielded by Hockey Karnataka - now the sole team which will represent the State - consists primarily of players from either SAI (Sports Authority of India) or DYES (Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports).

“BHA gave chances for players from other districts who couldn't make the cut for SAI or DYES. We'll reach a state where if you don't make it to the SAI or DYES sides, it's the end of the road,” Krishnamurthy said.

Krishnamurthy added that BHA officials have no ambitions of holding office in Hockey India. "When we were granted associate membership, it was very clear that we won't have voting rights and we would not be acting as an impediment for the state body. We are complying with that. I request the IOA president (Narinder Batra) and Sports Minister (Kiren Rijiju) to kindly make an exception to the IOA charter and allow associate units - who have given so much to the sport for decades - to compete in nationals,” Krishnamurthy said.

These concerns were echoed by B. Chengappa, Hockey Coorg Secretary. "Coorg has been a nursery for Indian hockey. Our district has produced nearly 70 India internationals. Kids here love hockey more than cricket. This policy will hit the sub-junior and junior categories. Competing in nationals acted as an incentive for these kids. Now with just one team per state, many of them could be lost,” Chengappa said.

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