Indian hockey body gets suspended

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi speaks during a news conference in New Delhi in this September 17, 2007 file photo. The IOA suspended the national hockey federation on Monday after a television show accused the federation's secretary of corruption. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) suspended the national hockey federation on Monday after a television show accused the federation’s secretary of corruption.

The IOA’s executive council made its move after the nation was rocked by a show which last week alleged that hockey secretary K.Jothikumaran had accepted money from undercover reporters to select a particular player.

Jothikumaran denied any wrongdoing and said he would “keep away” till an inquiry committee appointed by the federation completed its findings.

“The IOA has full authority to take disciplinary action against any federation if it indulges in activities that can bring disrepute to the nation and the sport,” IOA president Suresh Kalmadi told a televised news conference in Delhi.

“On that ground, the IOA executive council passed a resolution to suspend the Indian Hockey Federation and appoint an ad hoc committee to run the affairs till the issues are resolved.”

The IOA came under pressure to act after the sports minister called for hockey chiefs to quit and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) demanded better management of the country’s national sport.

The FIH has also warned it would take the 2010 World Cup away from India if the administration was not toned up quickly to both organise the event and revive the game.

“It is a very painful decision because the IOA is committed to the autonomy of all federations,” Kalmadi said.

The hockey federation was already under fire after the men’s team, eight-time former gold medallists, were eliminated from the 2008 competition in Beijing, marking the first time they will miss the Olympics since sending the first team in 1928.