SA hockey players warned

2011-10-28 00:00

SOUTH Africa Hockey Association (Saha) CEO Marissa Langeni has given notice to the country’s leading players that they must not get involved in the proposed lucrative professional league in India.

The Saha chief executive was echoing the message given her by fellow South African Kelly Fairweather, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief executive officer.

The Bloemfontein-born and raised Fairweather said there has been an increase in the level of queries regarding the proposed professional league in India.

Fairweather, a noted former SA junior representative and senior provincial player, is also a former SA women’s national team coach.

The proposed professional league in India, which is being supported by the rebel Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in partnership with Nimbus Sport, has not been sanctioned by the FIH.

“The FIH has had a number of reports from national associations and athletes that the FIH has given support or sanctions the proposed World Series of Hockey,” said Fairweather from the world governing bodies’ headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. “This is not the case and players, officials and coaches who accept contracts to play in the WSH could make themselves ineligible to play in FIH-sanctioned events such as the 2012 Olympic Games.”

Fairweather said that the FIH is confident that Hockey India, the federation which is recognised by the FIH and the Indian Olympic Association, will set up and implement a professional hockey league in early 2013.

This would give teams and athletes the space to prepare and focus on the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Hockey India’s league, recognised by the FIH, would open the door for South Africa’s top players to sign what are anticipated to be substantial contracts. The FIH-approved league is rumoured to have similar Indian companies that sponsor the widely popular IPL cricket competition as being interested in coming on board, the attraction being the massive television audiences in India.

Fairweather urged hockey’s national federations to keep in close contact with their officials, coaches and players so that they are aware of all the issues at play.

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