FIH awards row: Indian hockey federation seeks apology from Belgium | Hockey

The FIH Hockey Stars Awards controversy took a brand new activate Wednesday with Hockey India (HI) writing a strongly worded letter to the worldwide hockey federation (FIH) in search of an apology from Hockey Belgium for its criticism after Indian gamers and coaches swept the accolades.


“We are requesting FIH CEO Mr. Thierry Weil to either kindly request the Belgium federation to issue an official public apology for the demeaning comments on the achievements of the Indian athletes and coaches on social media and if not then refer this matter to the FIH Governance Panel for thorough investigation into what is discrimination/racial discrimination against Indian athletes and coaches,” HI president Gyanendro Ningombam wrote within the letter, accessed by HT.

On October 6, a furore erupted within the hockey world after Indian gamers and coaches received all of the eight awards. Several prime gamers hit out at FIH’s voting system, ridiculing it on social media.

World No.1 and world champions Belgium (they received gold on the Tokyo Olympics with India claiming bronze) represented by their federation expressed disappointment over the “failure of the voting system” after none of their gamers received any award regardless of the Tokyo triumph. “This is not normal! The credibility and image of our sport is once again facing hard times. It’s a pity,” stated the tweet on the Belgium workforce deal with.

The HI assertion stated: “We believe that the public statements of displeasure at the announcement of the Indian winners is highly disrespectful and not in the spirit of sportsmanship. Hockey India made great efforts to ensure good participation across all categories from our country and now feel publicly penalised for the full-hearted participation and support of the Indian nominees.”

Though the FIH awards have been established in 1998, India received for the primary time solely final year, in three of the eight classes.

“It is disappointing that the Belgium federation would prefer to question the voting system and the legitimacy of the Indian winners than actually take responsibility for not encouraging more voting and supporting their athletes in the first place. The core of the matter is that these national associations need to first introspect to see their actual level of participation and interest right from the start instead of now questioning the system once results are announced not in their favour,” wrote Ningombam.

For the awards, 50% of the votes come from nationwide associations—represented by captains and coaches, 25% from media and 25% from followers and gamers. Significantly, solely 79 of the 138 nationwide our bodies voted—Africa (11 voted out of 25), Europe (19 out of 42), Oceania (3 out of 8) and Pan America (17 out of 30). Asia (29 out of 33) had the perfect share.

“It is shameful in contrast that the European Hockey Federation (EHF) is sitting quiet and not taking responsibility for the lack of activation and seriousness in voting by their Member Associations while also allowing their athletes and Member Associations undermine the results and showing disrespect to the winners. Indian athletes have legitimately won the polls yet the shine of winning has been totally undermined by such negative comments by fellow athletes and National Associations. Is it fair that these athletes are being put through such harassment and mental intimidation?” Ningombam’s assertion stated.

“The objections on behalf of the Belgium federation need to be carefully examined by the FIH Governance Panel for what is considered by myself as a case of discrimination/racial discrimination, and how humiliating, mentally traumatic and insulting it is to the Indian athletes and coaches. Hockey India cannot stand by and allow the efforts and achievements of the Indian athletes and coaches to be questioned in this manner.”

There have been experiences that the votes of a document 300,000 followers—a big chunk from the Indian subcontinent—may have helped the Indian nominees win, particularly within the euphoria following the Olympics. FIH CEO Weil although stated on Monday that the winners would have remained the identical even with out the votes of the followers. He has stated FIH is prone to create a process power to look into the awards system.

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