Australia's men's hockey coach Ric Charlesworth has slammed London Olympic schedulers for lumbering his team with three early starts in their round-robin matches at the Games.
The 'Kookaburras' are favourites to win the gold medal in London but Charlesworth said the schedule, released on Tuesday, was unfair and would be disruptive to his top-seeded team.
"I don't expect special treatment, I expect not to be disadvantaged, out of five matches you may expect one 5am start for our athletes not three," Charlesworth told Hockey Australia's website.
"It interferes with momentum, as major finals won't be played at that hour and it interrupts our routine over two weeks."
While Australia face Spain, Argentina and Pakistan in matches starting at 8.30 am local time, second seeds and defending champions Germany play all their games later.
Charlesworth also pointed to the fact that the top seeds in the women's tournament, the Dutch, had no 8.30 am starts.
"It's not that they are number one, again it's just that it's not equally shared when some teams have to play three early matches and others none," he said.
Hockey Australia chief Mark Anderson reflected Charles-worth's dissatisfaction with the schedule. "When you look at the schedule it is patently unfair in our opinion," he said. "None of the teams want to play in this early morning time slot.
"We have been scheduled to play at this time on three occasions. The world ranked number two, three and four teams do not have any matches scheduled for this time. The fifth and sixth ranked teams feature once.
"Out of the 12 teams in the competition, only six teams play at this time and Australia features three times. We just want to compete on a level playing field."
Charlesworth did not like the playing fields in London much either, fuming earlier this month at a test event that the blue and pink surfaces were too bouncy and did not reward skilful players.
Ukraine official suspended
Quebec City: The Ukraine National Olympic Committee launched an investigation on Tuesday and suspended a top official accused of offering to sell thousands of dollars worth of tickets for the London Olympics on the black market.
Ukraine Olympic chief Sergei Bubka suspended general secretary Volodymyr Gerash-chenko after a BBC report said he offered to sell 100 tickets for the July 27-Aug. 12 Games to a reporter posing as a ticket buyer.
"For us it is a really unpleasant situation, particularly for me as president of the National Olympic Committee," the former Olympic pole vault champion Bubka told reporters at a hastily arranged media briefing. "First I would like to say we have suspended Mr. Gerashchenko and started an investigation.
"We will create an independent commission to investigate what has happened."
"This is an important issue, I need to act immediately," he said. "This is my life. I am happy to be involved from my childhood, to dream to be an Olympic champion and then president of the Olympic NOC and a member of the IOC."