Non-existent Hockey Federation’s ‘backdoor activities’ come a cropper

Players receive the eventual blow for administrative mishaps
By Lakshman Ranasinghe

A dissolved Sri Lanka Hockey Federation (SLHF) with its administrative and functional powers vested with the Director General (DG) of Sports, by a court ruling in 2015, had selected a pool of 28 players to participate at the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Challenge Cup in Myanmar from Nov.25- Dec.2.

This pool had commenced practices without the knowledge of the DG.

The Colombo Hockey Association (CHA) along with other affiliated Associations, had brought this to the notice of the DG of Sports and queried how a dissolved Federation, without a selection committee, without conducting nationals, picked a pool of 28 players to take part in the AHF Challenge Cup.

It transpired that a former President of the SLHF, who held the post for 12 years, making use of his international connections and with the support of a lady officer of the Ministry, has been trying to send Hockey teams abroad for the past two years without the knowledge of the DG. The former President made full use of the Ministry’s failure to inform the International Hockey Federation of its decision to dissolve the SLHF.

Referring to a news item in the Sunday Times of Aug.27, titled “Hockey squad starts training, but cancelled later”, the CHA Asst.Sec., along with other member Associations, said the aforesaid tour was cancelled on the directive of the Minister, following a meeting of the Minister, DG and the Director of Sports. He further said the writer of the news item had given wrong information from somebody who wants the tour to take place.

Since the SLHF was dissolved in 2015, the affiliated Associations made several complaints to the Minister and the DG on the 2016 South Asian Games selections and on unauthorised official travel, which the former President and the Ministry official are repeating in selecting pool of players for the AHF Games.

The standard of Sri Lanka Hockey had dropped drastically, even being beaten by Bangladesh 9-0, to be placed 44th in the World, from 31st.

Consequent to the last meeting of the affiliated Associations held on Aug.22, the Minister cancelled the Myanmar tour, on the grounds that the team was selected without a selection committee, without conducting nationals from the 14 Associations certified by the DG of Sports, and without any new players. The money from the cancelled tour to be utilised to uplift Sri Lanka Hockey. Furthermore, the DG was directed to take over the entire administration and operation of Sri Lanka Hockey, and notify the International Hockey Federation of the dismissal of the SLHF. Notify all Hockey Associations on the above decisions. Also to be effected are:

The present Project Officer to be replaced. Tours of less importance to be scrapped. Stop using players in administrative work. Appointment of a new selection committee and a foreign coach. Immediately conduct Junior and Senior Hockey Nationals with the available resources.

Selection of Under-25 Men’s and Women’s pools based on the Under-25 nationals performances and development.

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