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2008 OQ: Chile Qualifier
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Gill Diverts Attention -- for nothing (3/20/2008)
--K. Arumugam
What India, which nearly lost one of its national possessions, is talking about today? The ills of having a Federation such as the Indian Hockey Federation, or the whole gamut of issues pertaining to sports governance, or lack of it?

Though they were all talked about a bit in the television shows and mentioned in print media, these core issues no long dominate. The issues that are at the centre of media in the past couple of days are neither sports governance nor much of impassionate analysis of Santiago fiasco.

The issue before media is Charlesworth. Certainly it is topical, but he is here to coach men’s senior teams is a foregone conclusion -- and why he would come here otherwise. But, the IHF and in particular its chief KPS Gill, using usual bureaucractic delays (which is a well known national characteristic) – in this case signing a contract with the government which has already committed to – is successful, though time being, to manipulate the things in such a way the Charlesworth is the issue.

By playing Charlesworth card, Gill could able to singularly divert the media -- which has been baying for his blood since last ten days or so -- though it is anybody’s guess it is going to bounce. Opinion makers are already out, and a couple of hardhitting articles started coming.

Without realizing with whom he is playing, the IHF Chief, whom we normally castigate for being playing upto some cohorts within the system, proved who is calling the shots within the IHF. As each day passes by, it is apparent most decisions are his, and others in the IHF are left to savour only whatever the lion has left out in the jungle. He chose a wrong time to prove his predominant role in the IHF.

But does Gill realize, by subjecting such a great genius as Charlesworth to such non-issues – like what role he will be assigned etc – what harm is he doing to hockey.

Perhaps, time has come to realize insulting and insulating players – the skill this Gill has mastered over time and space, Dhanraj Pillay is a classic case – won’t work. That too in the case of Charlesworth. Because, he is our guest and comes to India at the behest of two important organizations namely the FIH and the IOC. The FIH is watching through the eyes of Bob Davidzon, and a couple of Indians have already apprised its president Els van Breda Vreisman of what’s going on here.

Gill knows by dragging him into various committee rooms, his residence, he can keep him at the forefront of news and get the real issues of sports governance sidelined.

He is successful in this, but will he be able to hid forever?

We only hope why can’t he use such skills which he uses with consummate ease to divert the public attention, instead to promote hockey, say, in the market to sell the game and organize more events. Just showing skills as a reaction to what has happened, won’t do any better.

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