In a shock decision, Indian hockey coach Terry Walsh announced his resignation Tuesday, barely three weeks after guiding the team to a historic gold at the Incheon Asian Games.
Various reasons — pay dispute, differences with sports officials and ‘stress on personal life’ — were being put forward for the former Australia great’s decision. Walsh’s contract runs out November 19 but he was expected to be in charge until the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The announcement immediately led to a blame game between the national federation and the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
The 60-year-old is the fifth foreign coach to hold the Indian job in a decade. The others, Germany’s Gerhard Rach, Australian Ric Charlesworth, Spaniard Jose Brasa and Michael Nobbs, all left abruptly.
In an email to SAI director general Jiji Thomson Sunday, Walsh said he was unhappy with the way the game was being administered, blaming both the government and Hockey India (HI), the sport’s governing body.
“I’m finding considerable difficulty (in) adjusting to the decision-making style of the sporting bureaucracy in India which I believe, in the long term, is not in the best interests of Indian hockey or its players,” he said.
Hockey India president Narendra Batra said Walsh had issues with his contract. However, Thomson said Walsh met a senior SAI official on
Tuesday and blamed HI. Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal has demanded an explanation from the SAI by Wednesday.
Walsh also said staying away from his family for long periods was stressful. Walsh, who draws a monthly salary of $12,000 (R7.4 lakh), reportedly has issues with tax being deducted.
His departure leaves the national team in a fix. It is preparing for the Champions Trophy scheduled in Bhubaneswar in December and plans to tour Australia from October 30.