Hockey India Controversy: Coach Resigns, CEO Quits – Who Said What?

#Hockey | Amidst the ongoing turmoil in Indian Hockey Federation, here's what everyone involve has said.

3 min read

In the last 10 days, Hockey India witnessed the resignations of two key female figures – Janneke Schopman, the head coach of the women’s team, and Elena Norman, the CEO of the federation. Both cited challenging work conditions as reasons for their departure.

Janneke expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment she received from administrators, feeling disrespected within the federation. On the other hand, Norman mentioned unclear dues and a sense of suffocation, whilst also referring to a "fight between two factions."

Following their resignations, President Dilip Tirkey and Secretary General Bhola Nath Singh of Hockey India (HI) issued joint statement, refuting the claims by the outgoing officials.

Let's delve into what every party has said so far:


What Did Head Coach Janneke Schopman Say?

Indian Hockey fraternity received a jolt when Janneke Schopman opened up on how she felt undervalued and disrespected in India, following her resignation after the Indian women's team's unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Speaking to Indian Express during the FIH Pro League in Rourkela, she stated, “I come from a culture where women are respected and valued. I don’t feel that here. Coming from the Netherlands, having worked in the USA, this country is extremely difficult as a woman, coming from a culture where you can have an opinion and it’s valued.”
#Hockey | Amidst the ongoing turmoil in Indian Hockey Federation, here's what everyone involve has said.

The Indian women's hockey team couldn't qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Image: PTI

What Did HI CEO Elena Norman Say?

Just four days after Schopman resigned, the federation's CEO, Elena Norman, also stepped down, making some surprising revelations.

Having held office for nearly 13 years, the Australian CEO attributed her resignation to internal politics within the federation, expressing a feeling of being "suffocated." While HI President Dilip Tirkey claimed her departure was due to "unpaid wages and a challenging work environment."

“Absolutely, it was getting tough to deliver in the fight between two factions. The environment was becoming suffocating,” the 49-year-old told PTI.

She highlighted that there are two factions within Hockey India, one led by Dilip Tirkey and herself, and the other by Bholanath Singh, Commander RK Srivastava, and Sekar J Manoharan. According to Norman, the former aims for the betterment of Indian hockey, while the latter seeks power.

"There are two factions in Hockey India. There is (President) Dilip Tirkey and I and there is (Secretary) Bholanath Singh, (Executive Director) Commander RK Srivastava and (Treasurer) Sekar J Manoharan. There are guys who want power and then there is (HI President) Dilip (Tirkey) who is a nice guy, only after betterment of Indian hockey,” she revealed.

How Did the President and The Secretary General Respond?

One day after Elena resigned, accusing the governing body of "factionalism," Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey and Secretary General Bholanath Singh strongly denied her claims. In a joint statement, they affirmed their unity and commitment to working in the best interest of the sport.

"Recently there have been statements by outgoing officials published in the media, claiming that there are divisions within the organisation. This is not correct. We remain united in working together, and as always in the best interest of the sport," the statement read.

"Hockey India is an autonomous and professional body dedicated to the development of Indian hockey. Our primary objective as an organisation has been and continues to remain the welfare and progress of the sport of hockey and our athletes," they further elaborated.

#Hockey | Amidst the ongoing turmoil in Indian Hockey Federation, here's what everyone involve has said.

Joint-statement issued by HI President Dilip Tirkey and secretary general Bhola Nath Singh.

Image: X/TheHockeyIndia

"We have built our ethos around equity and equal opportunities right from the grassroots levels across states as well as on a national level. In this spirit, our entire focus remains on growing our talent, ensuring all hosted events are conducted with utmost professionalism and our national teams are receiving the best support to support their performance at the global stage," the statement went on to mention.

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