Hic hic hurray! Image: Thinkstock
Time to raise your glasses hockey lovers. We have some news that will keep you in high spirits, quite literally so. Liquor will be served at the Kalinga Stadium for select guests during this year's Hockey World Cup, to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16, a move that raised a few eyebrows.
Vishal Dev, 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 the issuance of a licence to serve liquor at the stadium during the tournament.
The copy of the letter 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 said that serving liquor at big international events is not a new phenomenon. He also clarified that only beer and wine will be served to FIH delegates and national federation delegates in 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 in a certain area but it is not hard liquor," Dev said.
"Being the hosts, the state government has just applied for the licence. It is being sponsored by host federation, Hockey India's beverage partner. The state government is not incurring any expense for this," he added.
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 in a designated area. Vishal Dev, commissioner-cum-secretary, Government of Odisha
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 are served to select guests in 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 to select dignitaries and a designated area as per the Excise rules. We shouldn't make it such a big matter," he said.
(Inputs from PTI)