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Indian hockey midfielder Gurbaj Singh suspended for 9 months

Indian midfielder Gurbaj Singh was suspended for a period of 9 months for indulging in 'groupism' among the team.

Gurbaj Singh
Gurbaj Singh

The Indian hockey team midfielder Gurbaj Singh has been suspended for 9 months by Hockey India. The 27-year-old was charged with ‘misbehaviour and creating disharmony within the team’.

The decision was taken by the Hockey India disciplinary committee headed by Mr. Harbinder Singh. Former Indian coach Judi Felix, who had filed the charges against him, was also present at the meeting along with Gurbaj Singh.

As quoted by The Hindu, Mr. Harbinder said, “We have suspended Gurbaj for nine months starting today, which means he will be unable to play for India till May 9, 2016. The step was taken after Jude Felix in his (Hockey World League) report had brought up disciplinary issues against Gurbaj.”

Felix also mentioned in his report that Gurbaj had indulged in ‘groupism within the team’ and did not co-operate well with the coaches and staff during his participation in the recently-concluded World League.

Mr. Harbinder added, “Both Gurbaj and Jude were present in the meeting and the committee gave Gurbaj a chance to tell his version. But obviously, he (Gurbaj) can appeal against the suspension.”

Not the first suspension for Gurbaj

Gurbaj was also suspended in the same manner just after the 2012 London Olympics when chief coach Michael Nobbs and his staff had registered a complaint against him.

This suspension will have a huge effect on Gurbaj’s aspiration of representing his country at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With the Indian team settling under the new head coach, it will be difficult for Gurbaj to stage a comeback into the playing squad as the preparation for the Olympics will soon be starting.

However, having been an integral part of the team for a long time, it would be a challenge for the Indian hockey team to replace him. The Punjabi player has played 203 times for his nation, scoring 6 times.

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