Narinder Batra, the Hockey India secretary general, expressed his anger after the Indian hockey national team was first withdrawn from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and then was reinstated. The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will take place between 9 – 17 March in Ipoh, Malaysia.
Batra was at first forced to make an announcement that the team would have to withdraw from the tournament because the SAI (Sports Authority of India) had noted that the men’s team could play, but that they would not be funded by the government. This meant that the SAI would no cover the airfare expenses as it usually would. Very soon after the announcement was made, the sports ministry announced that it was overruling the decision made by the SAI, but tht the team should make sure not to run over budget in the future.
While the SAI claims that the reason for the withdrawal instruction was because of a scheduling and budget issue. Batra, however, has a different opinion. He said: “We are being victimized by SAI for not withdrawing a police complaint against the security in-charge of the SAI-run Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi where the Hockey World League Round Two was conducted.”
Batra explained that a few days before, an inebriated member of the security staff had demanded a bribe and was turned down. HI made a complaint to the police and the man was arrested. “Thereafter, we received a call from SAI asking us to take back our case, which we refused. A day later came the SAI letter claiming they won’t pay for the team’s tour.”
Gopal Krishna, SAI’s Director General, said that the claims of victimization were unfounded since the “security guard belonged to a private security company, and SAI has nothing to do with him.”