Hockey India mulls hockey league to rival WSH

Hockey India mulls hockey league to rival WSH


MUMBAI: Will World Series Hockey go the Indian Cricket League way? That is a matter of conjecture but if one is to go by Hockey India?s new strategy of launching its own league, one can hardly disagree that the ?official? body is following in the footsteps of its cricket compatriot BCCI in ensuring that the WSH doesn?t take root.

HI, the sole recognised governing body of hockey in India, is planning to start its own domestic franchise league next year, which is expected to feature Indian as well as international players and would have the backing of world hockey governing body, FIH.

?We are already in talks with the FIH and things are nearing the final stage. Our league will be a permanent window on the annual international calendar. FIH will ensure that there will be no international action during that time. That means the best players from across the world will be free to participate in the league that will most likely be held in January-February 2013,? Indian Express quotes HI secretary Narinder Batra as saying.

Batra said that the HI will make an official announcement in a couple of days. Like WSH, the HI league will also have eight teams and will be launched next year. He also clarified that players wouldn?t be pressurised to join the league.

The move is clearly aimed at weaning away Indian players from the rival WSH by creating an alternative that is if the HI?s proposed league fructifies which none other than Nimbus will testify is easier said than done. However, it needs to be seen whether players who have signed contract with Nimbus will stay loyal or not.

For the record, the WSH is backed by Indian Hockey Federation, the erstwhile governing body of hockey in India before it was unceremoniously suspended on charges of corruption, and is marketed by Harish Thawani-promoted Nimbus Sport. The WSH involving eight city-based teams will begin 29 February and will run till 2 April.

The sword of instability still hangs over the WSH as the participation of Indian players who are currently part of the national team is still uncertain with the reports that the players are yet to receive payments that was supposed to be paid a week ahead of the tournament.

Nimbus has cleared the air by saying that players who turn up for the camps of their respective teams will get their payments as soon as they join.

"Those in the national team right now simply have to send in a letter confirming their participation in WSH and saying that they will join their respective teams after the Olympic qualifiers. The moment they join their teams, they will get their money,? Nimbus Sport COO YannickColaco told the paper.

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