FIH to guarantee players safety

Even as the International Cricket Council (ICC) declared that it wouldn’t assure of players’ safety as a policy matter in India .....

Written by Uthra Ganesan | New Delhi | Published: March 11, 2009 2:11 am

Even as the International Cricket Council (ICC) declared that it wouldn’t assure of players’ safety as a policy matter in India or anywhere else in view of heightened security concerns,its hockey counterpart has decided to go ahead and adopt a bold stance over the issue.

In a big boost to India,that is set to host a series of high-profile tournaments in the next two years,the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has guaranteed complete safety and reiterated that there is no question of moving the 2010 World Cup from India.

“At this stage,the FIH World Cup will be played in 2010 in Delhi,India,” FIH communications manager Arjen Meijer told The Indian Express. “You can be sure that only if the FIH and the local organisers can guarantee 100 per cent security of players,coaches,officials,spectators and all others involved can a world level event be held.”

Close contact

“We are in close contact with the Indian Olympic Association,the body we have a joint venture with to organise the FIH World Cup in Delhi,” Meijer added.

Meijer added that even during the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup held in Chandigarh last month,the federation was closely monitoring the situation. “During the Punjab Gold Cup in January,the FIH was in contact with the tournament organiser many times a day and assisted the organiser with setting up all the security in a proper way,” he added.

Australia coach Ric Charlesworth had recently questioned the security situation and suggested that the World Cup be moved out of India. “We always listen carefully to our athletes and national associations and take their advice and requests into consideration when making any decision,” Meijer said.

India qualify for the World Cup by virtue of being hosts and would have to win the Asia Cup in Dubai if the event is shifted. However,India coach Harendra Singh is unperturbed by any last-minute change of situation. “My aim is to see the team win at Azlan Shah and the Asia Cup,irrespective of everything else. The team is progressing well though there is still a lot to do,” he said,pointing out finishing and an impatient defence as the weak links.

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