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Times of India: Hockey needs support from state governments too: Narinder Batra (2/24/2017)
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Times of India: Hockey needs support from state governments too: Narinder Batra

CHANDIGARH: Asserting that future of Indian hockey was bright, FIH president Narinder Batra on Thursday said that state governments too should do their bit to ensure that the sport further flourish in this country.

"Hockey or any sport, besides cricket, cannot survive without government support. Sports being a state subject, states also need to get active. We have couple of states during my period - like governments of Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, they are the ones who support hockey," he said.

"Others do have teams, but I don't see any support coming from these state governments, whether it is infrastructure or whether it is development or whether it is coaching. States also need to get a bit involved. When we call hockey a de facto national game, I think states also have a little bit of commitment and if they get involved, the pace at which we want hockey to grow will be a bit different," Batra said.

About the nurseries of hockey, he said, "Nurseries of hockey they are in control, things are moving well, whether it is Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, certain places in Karnataka, then Bhopal and Lucknow have also picked up. So, hockey is growing, but places like Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and Maharashtra, we are not getting much of development of players from these areas."

He, however, pointed out that future of Indian hockey was bright.

Recently, India had won the junior hockey world cup.

"I do see Indian hockey coming up. Development has to start right from the 12 year old right up to entering the Indian team. Things are moving in right direction, but one needs to build up on that and make sure one carries with that".

When asked what was FIH stand on Pakistan not playing in India, Batra replied, "that is not my decision, these are political decisions, when it comes to India and Pakistan. I am no one to take any call or decide on that. As far as FIH is concerned, Pakistan is part of every event, whether they come to country A or they don't come to country B, political decisions are between the countries."

About home and away league, he said, that will start from 2019. "It is going to be nine countries in men's and equal number in women's."

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