The ongoing feud between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has intensified with the former claiming that six top India players have chosen to withdraw from the World Series Hockey (WSH), starting December 17.
The players include ’keepers, Bharat Chhetri and PR Sreejesh, forwards, Tushar Khandker and Yuvraj Walmiki, drag-flicker, Sandeep Singh, and midfielder, Sardar Singh, who are currently playing the Champions Challenge I in South Africa.
In an e-mail sent to the media on Wednesday, HI secretary-general, Narinder Batra, claimed the group had confirmed its withdrawal from the cash-rich WSH. Batra issued a letter, supposedly signed by the six players on Tuesday, in which they claimed that they would not play in the WSH.
“We will be attending the national camp in Delhi for the Olympic Qualifiers from December 11 until February, 2012 and will be available for selection in the national squad for the Qualifiers. We (had) signed with the WSH under the impression that we will not be forced to play in the event or asked to leave the national camp,” the letter read.
The players also appealed to WSH to postpone the event to a date after the qualifiers. They made it clear that they would play for the ‘honour and pride’ of the country. None of the six players could be contacted at Sandton Sun, the hotel in Johannesburg where they are staying.
Yannick Colaco, COO of Nimbus Sport, felt it was odd that the players had chosen to “write” to a third party regarding the WSH non-participation, especially since HI had nothing to do with the event.
“We are unable to judge whether this supposed letter is a fabrication or extortion. Not a single WSH player has communicated in person or e-mailed us regarding their non-availability. In fact, we have had repeated confirmation from all our players,” he said.
A WSH source claimed the players had been asked to assemble on December 5 and in the event of failing to do so, legal action would be initiated.