Indian hockey team appeals to FIH against bans

New Delhi: The Indian team management on Tuesday filed an appeal to the International Hockey Federation (FIH) against the suspensions imposed on five members of the side for their role in the ugly showdown with Pakistani players during a match in Burnbury, Australia last week.

Midfielder Gurbaj Singh, forwards Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Tushar Khandker, assistant coach Jugraj Singh and the team`s exercise physiologist David John, who was the stand-in manager, were handed bans by tournament director Graham Napier for their involvement in the skirmish with Pakistani players in the match.

While Gurbaj, who received two stitches on his head, was suspended for three matches, Chandi and Jugraj were banned for five. Tushar and John got one-match suspensions each, while Pakistani skipper Shakeel Abbasi was also handed the same punishment.

"As per the norm, we have asked chief coach (Michael) Nobbs and Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, who is along with the team, to file an appeal against the bans to FIH and they have already sent it," said HI source.

"The decision (of the tournament director) was completely biased. It is the Pakistani players who started it all. They insitigated our players. The player who hit Gurbaj with the stick went scot free. We feel we have a strong case at hand," he added.

The ugly incident happened during last Friday`s match between the India and Pakistan in the first leg of the ongoing series in Busselton.

The trouble began when just 95 seconds were left for the match to end.

Gurbaj reportedly hit Shafqat Rasool`s leg as he tried to edge past him.

Abbasi confronted Gurbaj while a penalty corner was being given to Pakistan. Soon it became a full-fledged brawl with other players from both teams joining in.

Gurbaj sustained a cut in the head after being hit with a stick and required two stitches. Later, both teams decided not to continue with the match which ended in a 3-3 draw.


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