MUMBAI: Will the strange and completely arbitrary systems of governance in Indian sport ever surprise us? We doubt not.
Hockey Odisha, the federation representing a state that is today the hub of India's one time national sport, does NOT have voting rights. Why? It has been made an associate member by the national governing body Hockey India, New Indian Express reports.
And the justification provided by HI? Hockey Odisha will first have to develop a "proper website" for better visibility before being considered as a full member with voting rights. This website is willing to wager that few (if any) of HI's affiliates with voting rights can lay claim to having "proper websites".
Hockey Odisha’s secretary, Pratap Satapathy, has termed the move by HI as "unconstitutional".
“For the development of hockey, the Odisha Hockey Association was formed in the year 1962. Subsequently, Hockey Odisha was formed in 2009. How we came down to associate member (status) is unconstitutional’,” Satapathy told the NIE.
“In our last general body meeting, we submitted our audited reports for the financial year 2019-20... but the national federation insists that we need to develop a website for better visibility and promotion of hockey. It’s under process. We adhere to the HI constitution. If making a website is the parameter to become a permanent member, then I want to say many present permanent members are not having websites nor do they have district units,” he pointed out to the daily.
But Satapathy vowed to fight on, saying their primary concern is to nurture talent. He told NIE: “We are inspired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s call of ‘sports for the youth, youth for future’.
“HI can change the nomenclature, but they cannot change our aim of developing players from the grassroots. In the current senior team, there are several players from our state.”
When queried about this by the daily, HI officials offered what can politely be described as a bizarre justification. That there aren’t many differences between permanent and associate members. “The only difference is permanent members have voting right while associate members don’t have it.” As justifications go, this one is worth preserving in a museum, wethinks.