Hockey India Coach: Fired or not?
While Coach Paul Van Ass claims he was fired by Hockey India, Narinder Batra the Hockey India Chief denied the same. A special Hockey India committee will meet this Friday to decide on the matter and the decision will be made public on Saturday. The committee is chaired by former hockey player and Olympian Harbinder Singh.
The spat between the coach and the chief
The spat between Paul Van and Hockey India Chief Narinder Batra occurred when the Indian team won the QF against Malaysia in the World Hockey League Semifinals in Belgium in July. Batra reportedly encroached upon the coach's on-field authority when he gave a post-match talk to the team. Paul then, asked him to leave the field resulting in an ego clash between the two.
Hockey India coach sacked
Hockey India Coach Paul Van Ass said that he was fired from the position. Paul said that he was given the news via an email and is yet to receive an official confirmation from Hockey India (HI) or Sports Authority of India (SAI). Paul asserted that his public spat with Batra during the Hockey World League Semi-finals was the reason for his removal.
Paul's Olympic achievement
Hockey India denies firing Paul
Hockey India Chief Narinder Batra said that Paul's contract was not terminated and that Hockey India was in touch with the SAI. Batra also said that Paul was supposed to evaluate the team and send the report on 17 July which did not happen. Further, Paul who is an employee of SAI cannot be fired by HI. However, there was no update from SAI.
Four coaches exited in last six years
Most of Paul Van's predecessors left their jobs on an unceremonious note. Terry Walsh, the Australian who coached India and led the team to a gold at the Asian Games, was sacked just 47 days after the achievement. Paul was his replacement. The coaches before Walsh, Jose Brasa (2009-2011) and Michael Nobbs (2011-2013) too faced troubles with Hockey India before leaving the team.
India's qualification for Rio 2016 Olympics
India's Asian Games Gold Medal under the coaching of Terry Walsh guaranteed the 2016 Rio Olympic qualification. India was the first nation to qualify for the event.
Players caught in the cross-fire
The administrative intervention is nothing new in hockey and coaches before Paul too have faced it. Paul had always maintained that he would not hesitate to take on officials. Players suffer due to these fights between the administration and coaches. In the end, the team gets affected by having to adapt to change in style of play each time a new coach comes along.