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Trouble brewing up for the IHF Secretary (1/1/2006)
--K. Arumugam
This is not the kind of new year greeting he would have anticipated, but the IHF's Secretary General K.Jothikumarn can't escape. Two Secretaries of powerful State Hockey Associations, Karnataka and Bombay -- who count heavily in the electoral politics of Indian Hockey Federation – have come out openly against him.

In one of the three `confidential' communications that he sent to the IHF in the last three months, copies of which are with this writer, Commander Kehar Singh, Bombay Hockey Association Secretary, categorically states: "There is a total apathy of the administration within the frame work of the IHF secretariat headed by Secretary General Mr. K.Jothikumaran and this lacuna is reflected in most of the member states of the Country'.

If Kehar Singh, former secretary of the Services Sports Control Board, is mild and diplomatic in his analysis of Monchengladbach and Doha disasters, his Karnataka counterpart K. Krishnamurthy is forthright and unsparing.

Says the former international umpire, "In my view, the hockey federation is the worst administered sports body in the country. Jothikumaran does not know how to run a democratic body. His only strength is his close proximity and friendship with Gill (IHF President) for whatever reasons. Today, the most luxurious person in the world in the name of working for the game is Jothi. I do not think any sports administrator will lead a life as he leads with the limited knowledge".

Kehar Singh appreciates the 'commendable effort by Gill in muster financial support for the Indian hockey' and castigates the 'the funds were more often than not have been mis-utilized by the functionaries at various levels'.

Krishnamurthy goes a step further and calls spade a spade. "No one knows what exactly happens there (IHF). Collective, federal functioning has no meaning for these two persons (Gill and Jothi) and the set up they command. None of us know what money comes and goes where. They have no decency in obtaining the sanction from the Executive Committee to spend money over a stipulated amount. Even Indian Olympic Association amends its constitution to obtain power for the President to spend the amount upto Rs.1 lakh".

He concludes sarcastically, "I do not know why Mr. Kalmadi (IOA Chief) has to go for an amendment. He should have taken a lesson from Mr. Gill and Jothi how to empty the coffer without going for such amendment".

Fuming Krishnamurthy adds further, "IHF is insensitive to the liabilities in the book of accounts. Some of the liabilities are age old and pity they did not pay who had lent the money long back including Karnataka".

It is worth mentioning here that the IHF defaulted to KSHA on its promised payment for KSHA holding the 1997 National Championship despite IHF receiving grants from Government and sponsorship from Punjab & Sind Bank. As the IHF's cheque for part payment bounced, KSHA filed a suit in the civil court. The case was subsequently withdrawn on the promise of quick settlement of the bill and not honoured as yet.

Despite these developments, KSHA has long been considered a staunch ally of Secretary Jothikumarn and changed its stand only recently, after this year's World Cup and Asian Games disasters. "We are interested in hockey, not bothered of individuals", says Krishnamurthy, whose state team Bangalore Lions is the current PHL champions.

Though the views of both Krishnamurthy and Kehar Singh converge on common factor, Jothikumaran, they differ in respect of other issues.

Kehar blames selectors for their incompetence: 'More often than not many of them (Olympian selectors) tend to shirk their responsibility being not accountable and only enjoy trips and hospitality abroad at the cost of IHF and invariably sign on the dotted line on the list of players selected as put forward by the concerned authority'.

Krishamurthy blames Jothi for all hockey ills. "He is the one who has thrown all the democratic functioning to the dust bin. He clings on to IHF for his own selfish ends. His parochial approach let our team down in major tournaments. Why should Gill safeguard and protect him despite many complaints? He is a big liability to IHF. Huge money is being spent on this person. He is basking and leading luxurious life because of hockey. The hatred on him is huge and he should quit by himself and let the IHF function on collective wisdom".

The duo's perception on recently rally by the Olympians also is at variance. Krishnamurthy terms Gill's reaction to the rally ('Street Marchers') 'is affront to the Olympians and audacity of Gill'. Whereas, Kehar calls them a 'small group of disgruntled Olympians, not able to offer a single piece of advice for the revival of hockey'.

There is ground swell of anger against the IHF and Jothikumaran in particular inside the

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