2016 FIH Men's Champions Trophy: Hockey India President blasts match officials for outrageous umpiring
A valiant performance against favourites Australia in Friday’s high-voltage Champions Trophy finale at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park saw India narrowly miss out on their maiden title in the history of the tournament.
It went right down to the wire as the Men in Blue had held the Kookaburras to a 0-0 scoreline after regulation time before a controversy-ridden penalty shootout settled the tie in favour of the victorious Green and Gold.
At the end of all the scintillating hockey action that raged over a week at the bustling English venue, the championship took an ugly turn in the dying stages. The second round of the shootout saw Daniel Beale’s hit blocked and steered to safety by Indian keeper Sreejesh which didn’t please the Aussies who referred it upstairs to the TV umpire who then ruled the shot be retaken as a result of the Indian’s illegal obstruction. Beale made a meal out of his second chance that eventually helped in Australia’s 3-1 victory.
After a delayed declaration of the final result due to the Indians’ appeal for corrective action, the decision stayed and Australia emerged as champions. That is when Mr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, President of Hockey India took to social media to lash out at the outrageous refereeing in the course of the match.
Below are the excerpts from his justifiably enraged response to the FIH’s poor handling of matters which led to such disorder at the end of such a major international tournament:
“The second shootout of Australia was allowed to go on after the permitted 8 seconds and the hooter went on after 8 seconds but the shootout continued for almost 13 seconds...This is the worst example of careless and irresponsible umpiring in the finals of Champions Trophy 2016..."
"After this starts the cover up to shield the defaulting umpires skin... Sufferer of this intentional/unintentional mistake by the umpires and technical staff is Team India... Highly disappointing for the team and for me personally also. If the intention is to hit Asia and not let it rise again then please be open about it...”
“Umpires have the ultimate faith and trust of the participating teams. Does allowing a shootout to go on beyond permitted 8 seconds and then allow to be retaken after Australia fails to score in permitted 8 seconds, does not speak good about the institution called umpiring...”
“I feel the people at the helm of affairs need to be more serious in case they really intend to take hockey to next level and make it popular on TV...”
“Today I feel that maybe I have wasted last 6 years of my life which I gave for hockey. I feel disappointed when I see the honesty, fairness, equality and transparency missing...”
Finally, congratulating both the teams, Hockey India's chief then announced that each Indian player and chief coach will receive a reward of Rs 2 lakhs, while the remaining support staff shall be rewarded by Rs 1 lakh.
Young defender Harmanpreet Singh, who was yesterday adjudged the Youth Player of the Tournament, will get an additional reward of Rs 1 lakh as well. He finished with wishing his best for the Indian team at the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016.