Hockey India (HI) has insisted that Belgium’s public outrage over Indians winning the FIH annual award is nothing short of “racial discrimination” and the world body should launch a thorough investigation into the matter.
In a strongly-worded letter to International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Thierry Weil, HI President Gyanandro Ningombam said Belgium and its players were questioning the voting system and were disrespectful to the Indian winners and undermining their achievements. Were were
“The public statement of displeasure at the announcement of the Indian winners is highly insulting and not in the spirit of the game and the spirit of the game of hockey,” Ningombam wrote in the letter.
“The objections on behalf of the Belgian Federation to the 2021 winners should be carefully examined by the FIH Governance Panel, which is considered by me to be a case of discrimination/racial discrimination.”
Ningombam said that Indian players and coaches have legitimately won elections in all categories in most cases, but the achievement has been completely undermined by negative comments from fellow athletes and national associations.
“…how humiliating, mentally painful and humiliating this is for Indian athletes and coaches. Hockey India cannot allow the efforts and achievements of Indian athletes and coaches to be questioned in this manner…,” he said.
“Is it fair that the hard work and efforts of these athletes are being scrutinized and put through such harassment and mental intimidation?” He asked.
India swept the FIH’s annual awards on 6 October, claiming all the top honors based on a voting system that was lambasted as a “failure” by men’s Olympic champions Belgium, with the FIH saying Inspired that he would try to find out why some unions did not do so. Cast your vote
Five Indian players and head coaches from both men’s and women’s teams claimed top honors in various categories after garnering maximum votes in Tokyo. The men’s hockey team won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics for the first time in 41 years, while the women’s side finished an unprecedented fourth in the showpiece.
The HI president asked Weil to request the Belgian federation to issue an official public apology for the “derogatory” comments on the achievements of Indian players and coaches on social media.
“If not, refer this matter to the FIH Governance Panel for a thorough investigation into what constitutes discrimination/racial discrimination against Indian athletes and coaches.”
After Belgium questioned the voting system, the FIH reported that Indian award winners topped each voting group, including national associations and the media.
It also said that only 19 federations of the 42-strong European bloc cast their vote, compared to 29 of 33 in Asia.
The votes of the national associations – represented by their respective captains and coaches – accounted for 50 percent of the total result, while fans and players (25 percent) as well as the media (25 percent) made up the other half.
“Hockey India made great efforts to ensure good participation in all categories from our country and now publicly felt punished for the full participation and support of the Indian nominees.
“It is disappointing that the Belgian Federation would choose to question the voting system and the legitimacy of the Indian winners, then actually take the responsibility of not encouraging more voting and supporting their athletes.
“The crux of the matter is that these national federations need to introspect from the start to see the true level of their participation and interest, rather than questioning the system once the results are declared in their favour.”
He also pointed out that the Belgian federation had achieved a winner after the 2016 Rio Olympics, even though they finished second and that the gold medal winning Argentine team did not receive a single award.
“All the awards in men (after the 2016 Olympics) went to Belgium, then there was no question of the voting system,” he said.
Ningombam also said, “It is shameful that the European Hockey Federation is silent and not taking responsibility for the lack of proactiveness and seriousness in voting by its member federations, while blaming its athletes and member federations for diluting the results and blaming the winners.” Allows to show disrespect”.
Weil said on Monday that the FIH would set up a task force to work on its global award selection process, but stressed that winners do not separate without fans’ votes.