The issue of five India players deserting the national camp at Bangalore to attend a World Series Hockey (WSH) programme here on Thursday has derailed the unification process in Indian hockey with both Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) taking divergent views on this matter.
HI has firmed up its mind on taking strict action against the five errant players - Sardar Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Adrian D'Souza and Sandeep Singh - following a recommendation by Pargat Singh, chairman of its development and coaching committee. Pargat is believed to have recommended that the players should not be allowed back into the camp and dropped from the core group.
"I have submitted my report and now it is for HI and sports ministry to take a final decision," Pargat said on Friday.Sources at the camp said the five players reached Bangalore on Friday afternoon but were asked to wait for a decision by the federation. "We are waiting for a final decision before allowing them to join training," said a source.
"The players had sought permission but were denied. They were told that if they leave the camp, they should leave with their baggage. Is this the way to talk to senior players?" the source added.
"Pargat seems to have conveniently forgotten the day he led a delegation to KPS Gill (former IHF president) demanding match fee and incentives for players. The players have the right to earn money and secure their future. They had to fulfil their contractual obligations," the IHF source said.
Meanwhile, international hockey federation (FIH) too has taken exception to the WSH announcement ahead of Monday's crucial meeting.
"The FIH believes that announcements such as those made regarding WSH are not in the best interest of the sport and will surely not be conducive to finding a long term solution," it said in a statement.
Reiterating that WSH is a non-sanctioned event as IHF is not the recognized body for hockey in India, FIH warned the players that they can participate only if they had signed up before March 31, 2011 and have no other contractual or national obligations with their respective associations.