The Indian hockey team is currently at the Sports Authority of India center in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, where the hockey national camp is currently taking place. The camp began on 17th July, and questions have arisen as to where the team’s coach, Paul van Ass is.
Van Ass, commenting from his hometown in Rotterdam, explained his absence: “It is not about me coming back to India, I was fired by Hockey India on July 13. Therefore I don’t understand why I am being asked if I am coming back to India.”
The hockey coach explained that Roelant Oltmans, the High Performance Director, informed him that he was fired on 13th July, and that he received email confirmation of his removal as the team’s coach the next day. He was informed that he would receive an official dismissal letter, but he has not yet received it.
Van Ass explained that he has not come to the national camp because he was not sent a ticket, and was asked not to be there.
Hockey India’s Chief Narinder Batra claimed that van Ass has not been fired, and that he was indeed sent an air ticket on 9th July so that he could be at the camp on the 17th July.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) pays the hockey coach’s salary, and yet no statement has been forthcoming at this time.
Ajit Sharan, the Sports Secretary, said: “We have received no communication from Hockey India on this.”
If van Ass has indeed been fired, he would be the second hockey coach to have been fired in under a year, and the fifth to have been fired in the past five years. Should the team get yet another new coach, it will certainly affect preparations for the 2016 Olympics.
Hockey India have scheduled a meeting for 24th July to discuss the issue and plan the next move.