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International body to make space in calendar for HIL

League likely to return in January 2025

International body to make space in calendar for HIL

Hardik Singh and Salima Tete were named the best players of the year at a Hockey India awards ceremony in New Delhi on Sunday. HI



Tribune News Service

Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, March 31

Hockey India has the blessings of the international hockey federation (FIH) to hold its much-delayed Hockey India League (HIL). It is understood that as per the agreement between HI and FIH, an exclusive window will be given to the organisers of the league, which is slated to start in January 2025.

Subject to an official confirmation, the FIH calendar will have no major competitions between December 28 and February 1, a window in which the league can be held. Further, Hockey India has also come to an understanding with the federation officials of major hockey nations, including Netherlands and Australia, so that no local competition is held during the same time period.

“We are to get a window in FIH’s calendar for the league. This will free major international stars for the tournament in India,” HI secretary general Bhola Nath Singh said.

Further, Bhola Nath said that there will be eight teams in the men’s league, while the women’s league will have only six teams in fray. “We will announce the team names and player auctions after the Olympics. League matches for men and women will be played simultaneously,” he said.

“Let me make it very clear, no one will be allowed to own teams in men’s and women’s leagues. The owners have to be different for all teams,” he said.

Bhola Nath was talking on the sidelines of the annual awards function in which midfielder Hardik Singh and Salima Tete were named the men’s and women’s players of the year.

Hardik, who picked up the FIH player of the year award in December, said he was happy that he was being recognised for his game. “I am very happy for the honour and I hope I continue to play well and help the team,” he said.

The India vice-captain echoed his skipper Harmanpreet Singh’s assertions that the team has been working hard to show that the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal win, a first for India in 41 years, was not a one-off.

“We stay in camps for around 300 days to work hard on the game. Everyone has to sacrifice a lot to learn, analyse what is required to play at this level. We are building up to the Paris Olympics and everybody in the team is focused to do well,” he said.

I have had no problems in India so far, says men’s coach Fulton

New Delhi: Janneke Schopman might have resigned from her post as the women’s team coach accusing Hockey India of differential treatment but men’s coach Craig Fulton said he hasn’t faced such problems and has got “solid support” from all quarters. “I have had no problems so far. I have got good solid support, I have clarity in selection. I have got the backing of the senior players and they have got a good understanding of my stuff. From the existing staff to the new staff we are all on the same page,” Fulton said. “Once you have that trust in the group, trust with players and have a really bright vision about what you want to do, what are your goals, what’s the timeline, then I think you have a good chance of doing well in India.”

Fulton though added that life is a bit different in India for foreign coaches like him. “It’s obviously difficult for my son, my daughter. It’s not easy. I am based in Dublin. It’s different of course, if you come from Europe, it’s a different culture, different environment,” he said. pti

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