Hockey India to no longer boycott Commonwealth Games after Harbir Singh's revelations

Hockey India decides to soften on CWG boycott

Hockey India decides to soften on CWG boycott

Hockey India has decided to abandon its plan of boycott the Commonwealth Games after learning that Harbir Singh Sandhu has had his United Kingdom visa rejected three times previously.

A week ago the organisation had requested the Indian Olympic Association to withdraw the national team from the Games after Harbir Singh was denied accreditation for the tournament following background checks carried out by the UK Home Office.

Now, however, it has come to light that Harbir had been denied a visa on three other occasions – the first time when had applied for a job permit in 2008, a year after that when he had applied for higher studies, and the third time when he intended to participate in the London 2012 Olympics.

The first two times his application was rejected because his paperwork was not in order, and on the third occasion his application was rejected because of reasons similar to his latest rejection.

A Hockey India official said: “We carried out our internal investigation and found out that Harbir’s visa application has been rejected twice before.

“The player had not informed us about this earlier. The IOA checked its past records and found out that Harbir’s visa for the London Games was also denied due to a background check result, just as it is now.”

After the revelation it has been decided by the executive committee that they will not request withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games.

The official further added: “We will now have no option but to go by what the IOA says regarding the matter.”

It has been hinted that the fact of Harbir’s previous visa rejections were revealed by Harbir himself. Harbir, however, claims that he did not provide any information to Hockey India, nor was he told about their plans.

“I don’t know what they have decided,” Harbir said. “I never spoke to any Hockey India official. It will be better if you ask Hockey India, as I have been told to only concentrate on the national camp.”

Harbir still hopes that Hockey India would continue supporting him.

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