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Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 16:52 UK

Indian hockey body is suspended

Fans burn a photo of the Indian hockey team
Fans were furious after India failed to qualify for the Olympics

India's Olympic Association (IOA) has taken over running the country's hockey federation after alleged bribe-taking by one of its top officials.

The move to suspend the Indian Hockey Federation with immediate effect was announced by IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi.

It comes after secret film by television reporters showed hockey federation secretary general Kandaswamy Jothikumaran accepting money.

Mr Jothikumaran denies allegations he took a bribe and has resigned.

It is a painful, but necessary step to ensure Indian hockey gets back on track
IOA President Suresh Kalmadi

Indian hockey - the country's official sport - is still trying to recover after failing for the first time to qualify for the Olympic Games later this year in Beijing.

It is due to host the 2010 hockey World Cup but the International Field Hockey Federation has warned that it could lose the tournament unless it improves its preparations for the event.

'Painful'

Mr Kalmadi told a news conference that the decision to suspend the hockey federation for an indefinite period had been "unanimous".

A five-member panel to be appointed by the IOA will run men's hockey in India in tandem with the world hockey governing body.

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

He said he had "great respect" for Indian hockey chief KPS Gill, the former "super cop" who led efforts to crush a separatist revolt in Punjab in the years following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Mr Gill was present throughout Monday's emergency meeting.

"Jothikumaran did not come unfortunately - we wanted to hear him out. It was an opportunity for him to present his case," Mr Kalmadi said.

Mr Jothikumaran is accused by Aaj Tak televison station of taking money, apparently for selecting a particular player.

He says he was under the impression the money he took was "initial expense" for organising a major sporting event in India.

An investigation into the affair has been ordered by hockey officials.




SEE ALSO
Top Indian hockey official quits
22 Apr 08 |  South Asia
Resentment of India's hockey team
26 Sep 07 |  South Asia

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