Narinder Batra Stripped Of IOA And Hockey India Posts By Delhi High Court


Photograph of Narinder Batra credit Frank Uijlenbroek, courtesy WorldSportPics

he Delhi High Court held in a judgment on 25 May, 2022 that Hockey India's appointment of Narinder Batra as "Life Member" and Elena Norman as "CEO" were illegal under the National Sports Development Code. No other sports federation in India had such positions as part of the Executive Board, but Hockey India got away with it till now.

The consequences of this court decision were immediate:

  • Batra and Norman were removed from their illegal Hockey India posts, the Executive Committee was set aside, and the court formed a three-member Committee of Administrators (COA) to run Hockey India
  • Batra was removed as president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) with immediate effect, since he had contested the IOA elections based on his illegal life membership post at Hockey India
  • Batra will lose his International Olympic Committee membership, as it is linked to his IOA post
  • Elena Norman has been demoted to just an employee of Hockey India, losing her illegal powers to be in Hockey India's Executive Board and Managing Committee

Batra got a stinging rebuke from the court - "R-3 (Batra) knew fully well that the post of Life President and Life Member in a National Sports Federation is illegal. He had been specifically intimated so by the Government of India. When R-3 (Batra) went ahead and had himself appointed as Life Member of Hockey India, it smacked of brazen impertinence to the clear mandate of law."

Elena Norman got rightfully downsized. "As far as CEO Elena Norman is concerned she is just an employee of Hockey India. She can't have the powers to be in the executive board and managing committees of Hockey India, which is totally against the Sports Code," CoA member Qureshi told PTI.

Within hours of the Delhi High Court decision, Batra issued a statement, whose timing was questionable in the extreme, stating that he will not seek re-election for a second term in the IOA since he needs to spend more time as head of the International Hockey Federation.

However, Batra's continuation as FIH president in in balance, given that he was nominated as India's representative by the Hockey India Executive Committee which has now been deemed not in order. The court ruled, "The illegal post of life president or life member cannot be the stepping stone for any other position or benefit elsewhere, be it nationally or in international bodies. Any such benefit or position shall end right away."

The three-member COA will comprise former Supreme Court judge A. R. Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi and ex-Indian hockey team captain and Olympian Zafar Iqbal.

The judgment came in a case filed by former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan in 2020 in Delhi High Court seeking to quash articles in Hockey India's Memorandum of Association (MOA) under which the posts of 'life member', 'life president' and 'CEO', all with unlimited tenure and full voting rights, were illegally created.

"This is a landmark judgment by the Delhi High Court and is a telling statement of how inappropriately the affairs of Hockey India were run. There has been blatant fund misuse. Hockey India CEO Elena Norman was enjoying executive, secretary general, and president powers," said Aslam Sher Khan in a chat with Hockey Passion.

India Hurtling Down The Path Of Becoming A One-Sport Country


Indian money and television broadcasts focus on cricket, to the detriment of all other Indian sports

he Emirates Cricket Board proposed holding a T20 League in 2023, with the objective of provding a platform for Emirates Cricket to take their local talent to a higher level. In a surprising move, five of the six franchises were purchased by Indian companies - Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, GMR, Adani Sportsline and Capri Global. There is an opportunity cost to be considered - Indian money spent on a foreign sports franchise to develop foreign cricketers is money lost by other Indian sports.

Broadcaster Zee signed up to telecast this foreign sports league, to add to the already heavy cricket programming on Indian television. On a given day in June 2022, the following was being shown on Indian television at the same time

  • Star Sports Tamil: 2022 IPL Delhi Capitals vs. Mumbai Indians
  • Star Sports 1 and 2 HD: A match from a decade earlier - the 2012 T20 World Cup (also showing on Star Sports 1 Hindi)
  • Sony Six HD: A match from even earlier - a 2008 One Day International
  • Sony Ten 2: featured a non-India match England vs. New Zealand test

In the Caribbean Premier League, Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders went and purchased a franchise Trinbago Knight Riders. The optics does not play right - the star who made a movie on Indian women's hockey would rather spend his money to develop cricketers in Trinidad & Tobago than on the Indian women's hockey team which finished 4th in the Tokyo Olympics.

Every big country has multiple major sports. The Big Four in USA are American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. Similarly, the Big Four of England are football, rugby union, cricket and tennis. The Big Five in Australia are Australian Rules Football, rugby, cricket, tennis and swimming.

India is an aberration. Over the decades, India has gradually downgraded itself to become a single-sport country, with money, television and fans being solely devoted to just one sport, completely ignoring the others.

What else can you expect when the leading media companies on their Internet websites have one tab for Cricket and one tab for Sports. Why should the rest of the world respect Indian sports when Indians themselves don't.

India Yet To Win Any Tournament After Tokyo Olympics


India vs. South Korea in their Asia Cup Super 4s match, photograph courtesy Hockey India

ny Olympic success is a great opportunity to build a legacy. But in the case of Indian hockey, both men and women, both junior and senior, the team has not won a single tournament post the Tokyo Olympics.

  • Indian men's team has settled for two bronzes (Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka, Asia Cup in Jakarta)
  • Indian women's team settled for a bronze (Asia Cup in Muscat)
  • Indian junior men's team finished without a medal (4th in Junior World Cup in Bhubanesvar)
  • Indian junior women's team finished without a medal (4th in Junior World Cup in Potchefstroom)

The 11th Hero Men's Asia Cup was held from May 23 - June 1, 2022 at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta, Indonesia. The venue was the same stadium that hosted the 2018 Asian Games 2018 hockey competition, where Japan won both the men's and women's hockey golds.

8 countries participated in the tournament, and were grouped into 2 pools as follows (world rankings in parantheses). Defending champions India was the highest ranked team in the tournament, and the only team from Asia in the world hockey top 10.

  • Pool A: India (no. 3), Japan (no. 17), Pakistan (no. 18), Indonesia (no. 45)
  • Pool B: Malaysia (no. 11), South Korea (no. 16), Oman (no. 23), Bangladesh (no. 30)

50% of the countries participating in the tournament had Malaysian coaches - Malaysia (A. Arul Selvaraj), Bangladesh (K. Gobinathan), Oman (Lim Chiow Chuan) and Indonesia (K. Dharmaraj).

India lost only one match in the tournament and finished a bronze, with match results as shown below:

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool May 23 India 1 - Pakistan 1 Selvam Karthi (9 min), PC
  May 24 Japan 5 - India 2 Pavan Rajbhar (45 min)
Uttam Singh (50 min)
  May 26 India 16 - Indonesia 0 Pavan Rajbhar (10, 11-PC min)
Uttam Singh (14 min)
Somvarpet Vitthalacharya Sunil (19-PC, 24 min)
Neelam Sanjeep Xess (20 min), PC
Selvam Karthi (40, 56 min)
Dipsan Tirkey (41-PC, 42-PS, 47-PC, 59-PC, 59-PC, 59-PC min)
Abharan Sudev (45, 46, 55-PC min)
Super 4s May 28 India 2 - Japan 1 Manjeet Singh (8 min)
Pavan Rajbhar (35 min)
  May 29 India 3 - Malaysia 3 Vishnukant Singh (32 min), PC
Somvarpet Vitthalacharya Sunil (53 min)
Neelam Sanjeep Xess (55 min), PC
  May 31 India 4 - South Korea 4 Neelam Sanjeep Xess (9 min), PC
Maninder Singh (21 min), PC
Sheshe Gowda B. M. (22 min)
Mareesvaran Sakthivel (37 min)
3rd vs. 4th June 1 India 1 - Japan 0 Rajkumar Pal (7 min)

The final standings were: 1 - South Korea, 2 - Malaysia, 3 - India, 4 - Japan, 5 - Pakistan, 6 - Bangladesh, 7 - Oman, 8 - Indonesia

The 2022 Asia Cup had 3 qualification slots for the Men's Hockey World Cup to be held in Odisha in January 2023. The top 3 countries in the Asia Cup not including World Cup hosts India - South Korea, Malaysia and Japan - have qualified for next year's World Cup.

4-time World Cup champion Pakistan will not have qualified for its second World Cup in a row.

The following tournament awards were given:

  • Top Scorer of the Tournament: Razie Rahim, Malaysia (13 goals)
  • Rising Star of the Tournament: Uttam Singh, India
  • Player of the Tournament: Jang Jonghyun, South Korea
  • Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Akmal Hussain, Pakistan
  • Rising Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Takashi Yoshikawa, Japan

India sent a drastically experimental team for the Men's Asia Cup, with only two players who played at the Tokyo Olympics - Simranjeet Singh and Birendra Lakra - and 13 players making their India debut. As Jaspreet Sahni of The Times of India said, "With the Tokyo medal came an opportunity - an opportunity to become ruthless on the field, an opportunity to woo back the fans who were once again talking about hockey, an opportunity to grow the sport like in the distant past, and an opportunity to revive the legacy. But what has followed is over-experimentation and lack of transparency."

The Indian team for the Men's Asia Cup was as follows:

Forwards: Pavan Rajbhar, Belimagga Abharan Sudev, Somvarpet Vitthalacharya Sunil (vice-captain), Uttam Singh, Selvam Karthi, Simranjeet Singh

Midfielders: Vishnukant Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Mareesvaren Sakthivel, Beeranahallikere Mahesh Sheshe Gowda, Maninder Singh, Pardeep Singh

Defenders: Birendra Lakra (captain), Yashdeep Sivach, Manjeet, Dipsan Tirkey, Neelam Sanjeep Xess, Abhishek Lakra

Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Suraj Karkera

Officials: Chief Coach - Sardar Singh, Manager - B. Kariappa, Physiotherapist - Ranganathan Murugesan

Odisha Win 12th Senior Women's National Hockey Championship


The victorious women's hockey national champions Odisha, photograph credit A. M. Faruqui courtesy Hockey India

he 12th Hockey India Senior National Hockey Championship was held at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, Mayur Park, Bhopal from May 6-17, 2022.

27 teams from all over the country participated in the tournament, and were grouped into 8 pools as follows:

  • Pool A: Madhya Pradesh, Chandigadh, Bihar
  • Pool B: Hariyana, Assam, Bengal
  • Pool C: Punjab, Chattisgadh, Tripura
  • Pool D: Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand
  • Pool E: Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry
  • Pool F: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar* (did not participate)
  • Pool G: Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat
  • Pool H: Odisha, Kerala, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh

Odisha won the 2022 Senior Women's National Hockey Championship, with the following match results:

Stage Date Odisha Date Karnataka
Pool May 6 beat Telangana 14-0 May 6 beat Arunachal Pradesh 10-0
  May 9 beat Kerala 11-0 May 7 beat Tamil Nadu 3-0
  May 12 beat Himachal Pradesh 8-0 May 11 walkover Andaman & Nicobar 5-0
Quarters May 14 beat Madhya Pradesh 1-1 (2-0 Shootout) May 14 beat Punjab 1-1 (5-4 Shootout)
Semis May 16 beat Jharkhand 5-0 May 16 beat Hariyana 2-0
Final May 17 beat Karnataka 2-0

In the 3rd vs. 4th placings match, Jharkhand pipped Hariyana 3-2 to finish 3rd.

Champions Odisha were coached by former India goalkeeper Edgar Mascarenhas, and the team featured three internationals - Sunita Lakra, Leelima Minz and Poonam Barla

Photograph of the Month


Article courtesy Birmingham City Council, photograph credit Birmingham World

he Photograph of the Month for June 2022 is of a floral display that celebrates Birmingham's status as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The display earned Birmingham City Council its tenth consecutive gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

A mixture of flowers grown at the council's own nurseries and sporting-themed features made up the eye-catching display.

The 10m x 15m display showcased some of the city's iconic landmarks with a link to the Games, in addition to highlighting some of the sports that will be contested.

Passing through the centre of the display was a canal, in recognition of the fact that Birmingham has over 35 miles of canal running through the city. The canal was filled with water, and ran along a diving board, a nod to the brand new Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

On top of the Rotunda, the iconic tower at the city centre, was the official Birmingham 2022 mascot Perry

Hockey is taking place at the University of Birmingham, which was depicted by a representation of the university's clock tower 'Old Joe'. There were two hockey players, made from willow, playing in front of 'Old Joe' - made from rusty steel to represent the real version's red brick structure.

A total of 6,500 athletes and officials from 72 nations and territories are set to come to Birmingham for the Games, which run from July 28-August 8. Participants will be competing in 280 events covering 19 sports and 8 para sports over 11 days. An estimated global television audience of 1.5 billion viewers is set to watch the action unfold at venues across Birmingham and beyond.

Money Matters


The under-construction Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium. Article by PTI. Photograph credit Odisha Sports

ranes lifting heavy material, dusty roads leading up to the site, people in safety jackets and helmets doing their work amid heaps of sand and cement lying scattered all over the place. There are ample signs that the construction of the country's largest hockey stadium is in full swing. Come January next year, the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Odisha's tribal-dominated Sundargarh district will be packed to the rafters during the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup.

Work at the stadium on the outskirts of Rourkela city started in June 2021, and is going on round the clock as officials battle to complete it within the deadline. Normally, it takes around 18-24 months to build a stadium of this size. "But, we designed and planned it in such a way so that we can save time in engineering and the conventional construction part," Sports Department infrastructure consultant Swagat Singh said.

The executing agency of the ₹200 crore stadium is the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha, and it has contracted the work to Larsen and Toubro. Stadium accomodation near the practice pitch, with a construction cost of ₹80 crore, is being done by another contractor with a deadline of October 2022.

The 35-acre site includes the stadium and accommodation inside the 120-acre campus of the Biju Patnaik University of Technology in Rourkela, 293 km northwest of the capital Bhubanesvar. the lush green and scenic Durgapur Hills, which overlooks and runs across one side of the stadium. When completed, it will be India's largest hockey stadium.

Swagat Singh exuded confidence of finishing the work in time by August. "Almost 50-60 per cent of the work has been completed," he told PTI. "The workforce size is around 400. The casting is done at night and preparatory work in the morning due to the searing heat for the past few weeks. By the end of this month, the complete shell will be done. Once the skeleton structure is completed, the workers will start giving the finishing touches."

There are many USPs of this project. While stadiums usually have multiple floodlight towers, here they will be integrated within the stadium building itself, so that it won't hamper the aesthetics.

The colosseum-like structure will be continuous, with users able to get a clear vision of the field no matter at which gallery or at which angle the spectator sits.

There will be some light projection and the facade will be designed in such a way that cultural aspects of the region will be integrated. "Wall arts and murals will also be there. It will be an amalgamation of culture and heritage," Swagat Singh said.

Odisha Sports and Hockey India are planning to host Men's Pro League matches in October, that will act as a test event for the 2023 World Cup. Post the World Cup, the government is mulling to convert the entire complex as an academy for upcoming talent.

Sundargarh is regarded as the cradle of Indian hockey, having churned out stars like Dilip Tirkey, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra and others. From kids to the elderly, there's a lot of craze of the sport in the region. Swagat Singh pointed out in closing, "Many kids here prefer to hold a hockey stick rather than a cricket bat."

Media Matters


Article and photograph courtesy FIH

he International Hockey Federation (FIH) launched an invitation to tender (ITT) for the broadcasting rights of the next FIH events cycle (2023-2026). The tender covers the following events:

Year Event Category Comments
2023 Junior World Cup Men, Women  
2023 Indoor World Cup Men, Women Men's in Malaysia, Women's in Chile
2023-24 Hockey Pro League Men, Women Indian women have not qualified
2024 Hockey5s World Cup Men, Women In Muscat, Oman
2024-25 Hockey Pro League Men, Women Indian women status unknown
2025 Junior World Cup Men, Women  
2025 Indoor World Cup Men, Women  
2025-26 Hockey Pro League Men, Women Indian women status unknown
2026 World Cup Men, Women  

Besides the above, the tender also covers qualifying tournaments like the Olympic Qualifiers (2023-24) and the FIH Hockey Nations Cup (2023-26).

This opportunity is open to all territories worldwide, with a deadline to submit a proposal set for 24 June 2022.

FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: "With 30 million players around the world in key markets in every continent, and a gender equal participation - 51% women, 49% men - hockey's profile is rising. I can only urge all broadcasters looking for a global, dynamic and growing Olympic sport, to send us their bid for the next broadcasting rights cycle."

All interested parties are invited to contact FIH per email at broadcast@fih.ch to receive the full tender document.

Records and Statistics


The bronze medal winning Indian team for the 11th Men's Asia Cup, photograph courtesy FIH

his month's edition of records and statistics is on Men's Asia Cup hockey tournament. Including this year, 11 editions of the tournament have taken place.

  • South Korea is the most successful team in the Men's Asia Cup, with 5 titles
  • India has the maximum number of medals in the tournament (10), having a podium finish in 10 of the 11 editions held so far
  • Pakistan has gone 8 editions without winning the Men's Asia Cup. They last won the title back in 1989
  • India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia are the only countries to have attended all 11 editions of the tournament
  • Individual Top Scorer: Hassan Sardar has scored most goals across all editions of the Men's Asia Cup – 26 goals, including 3 hat-tricks
  • Team Top Scorer: India has scored the most goals in a single Asia Cup – 57 goals in the 2007 edition at Chennai
  • Team Maximum Goals Conceded: Thailand has conceded the most goals in any single Asia Cup event (67 goals) in the 2007 edition
  • The biggest winning margin in a Men's Asia Cup final is India's 7-2 win over South Korea in the 2007 edition
  • The biggest winning margin in a Men's Asia Cup semi-final is India's 9-1 win over Japan in the 1985 edition
  • Four nations – Iran (1985), Chinese Taipei (2013), Kazakhstan (1994) and Indonesia (2022) have participated in the Men's Asia Cup only once
  • Kuala Lumpur and Dhaka are the only cities to have hosted more than one Men's Asia Cup (2 each)
Year Venue Gold Silver Bronze
1982 Karachi Pakistan India China
1985 Dhaka Pakistan India South Korea
1989 Delhi Pakistan India South Korea
1994 Hiroshima South Korea India Pakistan
1999 Kuala Lumpur South Korea Pakistan India
2003 Kuala Lumpur India Pakistan South Korea
2007 Chennai India South Korea Malaysia
2009 Kuantan South Korea Pakistan China
2013 Ipoh South Korea India Pakistan
2017 Dhaka India Malaysia Pakistan
2022 Jakarta South Korea Malaysia India