Hockey India (HI) on Saturday cracked the whip and banned drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and midfielder Sardar Singh for two years from domestic as well as international competitions.
Sandeep and Sardar, who had been issued show-cause notices last month for deserting the camp to attend the function organised by the World Series Hockey, abruptly withdrew from the camp for the Asian Champions Trophy in Bangalore last week, citing personal reasons.
HI’s disciplinary committee chairman, Pargat Singh, conducted a hearing in the presence of the federation’s top brass, coaches and support staff. The two errant players too attended the hearing and presented their case.
“This is the third time they have breached discipline. It was a unanimous decision to ban them for two years,” HI secretary-general Narinder Batra said on Saturday.
Batra said the duo, however, has the right to appeal within 30 days from the date of receiving the notice. The appeal would be heard by a five-member committee comprising two members nominated by HI, one each by Sports Authority of India and Indian Olympic Association and one of the players’ representatives in HI’s executive committee.
Asked whether there was scope for leniency as Sandeep and Sardar are key members of the squad, Batra said, going by the turn events, “it is evident the duo had planned the move. The players had booked their tickets in the afternoon and approached the coach for permission late in the evening, indicating that the move was pre-meditated. Hence there was no scope for leniency,” said Batra.
When contacted Sandeep Singh refused to comment, saying he had given his side of story to the panel. “ I don’t want to say anything more at this moment,” he said.