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Opinion: Hockey India League is a global asset wil (9/12/2014)
--K. Arumugam
Hockey India League is a global asset; will emerge stronger

Opinion: “Hockey history will be written in two phases: Pre-Hockey India League and Post-Hockey India League. Because, hockey’s profile will be different level now on, and will reach great heights with the onset of Hockey India League”, Leondro Negre, President of Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH) said on the eve of inaugural Hockey India League two winters ago.

He was quite on his prediction and optimism. With meticulous planning and matching missionary zeal, Hockey India put on place the unique hockey league, with never heard of auction and live of it on net and television.

undefined So successful the HIL from the day one that its rival World Hockey League, bigger in size and logistics, evaporated without a trace.

Global hockey community watched HIL and its executioners with awe and wonder.

India, for the first time, did something innovative and won the hearts; as HIL provided generous payments to both India as well as global hockey greats.

I experienced myself during the Rabobank Senior Men’s World Cup at Hague, the Netherlands that most media men and players enquired more about HIL than anything else.

The point is HIL is talk of the world hockey.

No doubt, the FIH was good enough, sagacious enough to grant a Window for HIL; strictly speaking the effective beneficiary of HIL is, will be the FIH.

Now, as the news of Mumbai Magicians, who failed to click on the turf --and finished bottom of the table on both editions – has pulled out; and then today the newspapers are hog with the impending dissolution of hugely popular and successful franchise Ranchi Rhinos.

Withdrawal of two franchises out of six is a cause for concern. It sends out a wrong signal at large. The fact that the least successful and most successful teams pulled out suggest the fact that field success or failure is not the deciding factor; but finances.

Be it Mumbai Magicians or Ranchi Rhinos, their owners do not seem to possess a perspective view and long vision. A start up franchise will take time to settle and consolidate gains, first break even the costs and then go for the profit if that is the reason.

We understand even some most famous franchises of IPL – though much greater in scale and reach – despite owned by film stars and big magnate houses did not break even early.

Mumbai and Ranchi franchises therefore were haste. But it is their decision we have to respect.

Narinder Batra, face of Indian hockey and also Chairman of the HIL Board, is no push over personality. He demolished great rivals to reach where he is now.

With the kind of babudom at government level, his tasks of managing national teams, which is otherwise a routine affair, has become stern.

Now, the hockey community turn to him as to the future of Hockey India League. Its time he has to summon all his might and pull all strings to infuse fresh life into the HIL to change the image perception of the global brand, which is his brainchild anyway.

He has thoughtfully and thankfully incorporated some great personalities on board in the HIL.

Keeping Batra’s proven steadfastness in pursuing his objectives, we at present deem it fit to be optimistic, and count on his clout.

He has won many wars; now time to win a battle.

There is already talks of other cities like Pune joining, hopefully such positive things emerge shortly.

For us Indians, its not time to giggle or ‘I told you’ kind of mindset; but stand united to save a global asset whose origin and sustenance is our mother India.

We only hope the HIL emerge stronger.

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