India’s Hockey coach Harendra Singh said that his side has been at the receiving end of poor on-field decisions twice this year.
India coach Harendra Singh was critical of the umpiring in the Hockey World Cup 2018 quarter-final, which saw the home team lose 2-1 to the Netherlands and exit the tournament at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Thursday.
He said the International Hockey Federation (FIH) needs to seriously address the issue as his side has been on the receiving end of poor on-field decisions twice this year.
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After giving a brief apology to the home fans, Singh immediately pointed fingers at the referees. “My warrior team can only fight 11 vs 11. But not 13 vs 11.”
At the post-match conference, Singh expressed, “I am opening up today, I have been quiet for a while. I did not file a protest at the Asian Games. In the shootout against Malaysia at the Games, my captain was given a yellow card for blocking. But later, it was revealed that it was not a case of blocking. Umpiring is one of the committees in the International Hockey Federation that they do not want to improve. We will continue to face similar results as long as it does not.”
Here’s Harendra Singh’s full Press Conference statement
“I would like to tender my apologies. We haven’t given what we had to. I am not going to stop today. If they [umpires] don’t want to improve, we will continue to face these type of results,” Harendra said at the post-match press conference.
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“Can anyone define Amit Rohidas’s 10-min yellow card? What about this gentleman [pointing at Manpreet Singh], when he was pushed from behind? Why not a yellow card there? We have lost two major tournaments [Asian Games] this year because of umpiring.”
“Two times we got a card when we hadn’t done anything. But when it happened against us, they [umpires] said nothing. They need to improve. We have lost two major tournaments,” he added.
“99.8 percent the referral goes in favour of players. The outcome of a protest has never been good in my career. We accept this gracefully. We want neutral umpiring. I expect both teams to be treated equally. One wrong decision can ruin your preparation of 4-6 years,” Harendra said.
Harendra said it was an equal contest but missed chances hurt India badly.
“We had a couple of open chances. We missed, so did Holland. That was because both teams were playing a high-tempo game. Sometimes your position is not there, or your stick is not there [in the right place]. The way the boys fought without the goalkeeper, in front of you I want to salute my players.”
“We played well in patches but I will give 7 out of 10 on temperament to my team.”
Criticising the on-field umpires, Harendra further said he didn’t think the penalty corner from which the Netherlands scored their winner, was right. “The penalty corner which they got, I don’t agree with it.”
The coach further lashed out on video referrals used during the match that often work in favour of the players, which is an indication that umpiring in real time needs to improve. “When the players go for the video referral, most of the times it goes in their favour. Why don’t the umpires get it right the first time? We cannot depend every time on the referrals,” he said.
India captain Manpreet Singh too was utterly disappointed with the outcome and said there is no point in lodging a protest now.
“What is the use? We lost. We are out of the tournament,” he said.
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