Hockey India gets recognition, Indian Boxing Federation suspended, bidding opens for Indian Super League and no F1 race in 2015
Indian sports law update - 10 March 2014Manali Kulkarni, Sean Cottrell
Hockey India recognized as the National Sports Federation for hockey
According to a Times of India article, the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, has decided that Hockey India (HI) may be given recognition as the “National Sports Federation for governing the sport of hockey (both men and women) in India."
The Sports Ministry decided on this matter on February 28, and HI formally released the Sports Ministry’s recognition letter on Monday, March 3. HI will now be responsible for promoting Indian hockey both nationally and internationally.
A Business Standard article explained that, according to guidelines, any National Sports Body must be recognized by both the international federation and the national Olympic association. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) as well as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have recognized HI since 2009. HI and FIH have planned many major tournaments together since 2012, such as “FIH Olympic Qualifiers, FIH World League Round 2, FIH Junior Men's World Cup and FIH World League Round Final.”
The Sports Ministry’s decision for HI appears to bring an end to the dispute between HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in its fight “against HI over the control of the sport in the country.” (See previous blog for further details on the HI-IHF dispute)
Indian Boxing Federation “excluded” by the International Boxing Association
On March 4, 2014, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) “provisionally excluded” the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) on the grounds that the IBF’s “current set of office-bearers are "damaging the image, reputation and interest" of the sport,” according to a Times of India article. The AIBA explained that because there have been “conflicting communications from various stakeholders,” it is unable to decide on “‘proper’ judgment” for IBF’s case.
The IBF was initially suspended by the AIBA on December 16, 2012 for “possible manipulations” during its elections. Since then, the AIBA has not recognized any IBF events or provided further support. The AIBA had agreed to revisit IBF’s suspension after the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA’s) suspension by the International Olympic Committee had been lifted. However, after receiving yet more complaints from a multitude of parties concerning the continuing mismanagement of Indian boxing, the AIBA concluded that the IBF will be “provisionally excluded from AIBA membership,” under provisions in Article 18.2 of the AIBA Statutes. The IBF have been informed that they must hold “fresh elections” to be reconsidered by AIBA later this year. AIBA has stated that while the IBF is derecognized, the boxers and coaches will be able to compete under the AIBA flag.
IMG-Reliance and Star India start bidding process for Indian Super League
According to an Economic Times article, IMG- Reliance (IMG-R) has decided to “float tenders for the Indian Super League (ISL)”, a proposed Indian football league. IMG-R, “commercial and marketing partners of the All India Football Federation (AIFF),” along with Star India Pvt. Ltd., announced its decision to start the bidding process for the ISL. A recent Business Standard article explained that one of the objectives of the ISL, and a key criteria in assessing bids, is to initiate “grassroots development plans for football in their home cities.”
As of last Monday, March 2, 2014, the bidding process started with “Invitation To Bid” for ISL clubs in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, as stated in the Economic Times article. The top eight cities of these nine will be “granted the right to own and operate a new football club” and be a part of the upcoming ISL.
IMG-R has set a March 25, 2014 deadline for the bidding process. The “inaugural edition” of the ISL, originally planned from January to March, will now be from September to November 2014. As to how the ISL fits with the I-League, India’s top football competition, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president, Praful Patel, has said that the I-League will “then we'll start the I-League so that it carries on uninterrupted”.
No Indian Grand Prix in 2015
According to the NDTV article, Bernie Ecclestone, CEO and president of Formula 1 (F1), has publicly declared that Grand Prix (GP) racing will not take place in India in 2015. Ecclestone further explained that India was never going to be on the F1’s schedule for 2015 and there is a chance that it may not be for 2016 either due to “bureaucracy with the tax position inside the country and the general finance.”
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About the Author
Manali is the COO at LawInSport and executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University).