Liquor to be served for select guests in 2018 Hockey WC
By Saumojyoti S Choudhury and Tapan Mohanta
New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) Liquor would be served at the Kalinga Stadium for select guests during this year's Hockey World Cup, to be held in Bhunabeswar from November 28 to December 16, a move that raised a few eyebrows.
Vishal Dev, the commissioner-cum-secretary of the Government of Odisha, which is hosting the prestigious event, had written a letter dated June 3 to the Commissioner of Excise, Odisha for issuance of license to serve liquor at the stadium during the tournament.
The copy of the letter, which is in possession of PTI, states: "Liquor/Beer will be served in the VIP Lounge for the officials/delegates of International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Hockey Federations of the participating nations at Kalinga Stadium. It is requested that Liquor license may be issued in favour of Department of Sports and YS from November 27 till December 16 over the premises at the Kalinga Stadium."
When contacted, Dev told PTI that serving liquor in big international events is not a new phenomenon. He also clarified that only beers and wines will be served to FIH delegates and national federation delegates at a highly restricted area.
"It is not something which is out of the blue for a big sporting event. In every World Cup of every sport liquor is served at a designated area. In every hockey World Cup also liquor is served for select people at a certain area but it is not hard liquor," Dev said.
"Being the hosts the state government has just applied for the license. It is being sponsored by host federation, Hockey India's beverage partner. The state government is not incurring any expense at this," he added.
International Hockey Federation president Narinder Batra, too, agreed with Dev and said the matter shouldn't be blown out of proportion, citing international sporting events where wine and beer is served for select guests at a designated area.
"I don't have any knowledge about it but this trend is not something new. In every big event, like cricket World Cup or IPL wine and beer are served for select dignitaries and a designated area as per the Execise rules," he told PTI.
"We shouldn't make it such a big matter