Gurbaj Singh, a key player of the Indian hockey team, was handed a nine-month ban by the Hockey India disciplinary committee on Monday on grounds of ‘indiscipline and misbehaviour.’
The ban will be effective from August 10, 2015 and will stay till May 9, 2016. During this period Gurbaj will not be able to participate in Hockey India, Asian Hockey Federation and FIH sanctioned tournaments.
The disciplinary committee comprising former players Harbinder Singh (chairman) R P Singh, A B Subbaiah and Jasjeet Kaur took the decision after a meeting in the presence of Gurbaj and coach Jude Felix, who has now resigned from his post.
The 27-year-old was indicted in his report by Felix after the FIH Hockey World League SemiFinals 2015. The report contained feedback on his conduct and behaviour during the last three tournaments, including the Antwerp tournament, India vs Japan Series 2015 and Sultan Azlan Shah tournament 2015.
Gurbaj, who has 30 days to appeal against the decision to Hockey India Executive Board, called the decision harsh.
“I will have to face whatever comes my way. The nine-month ban is a bit harsh. I had cleared my stand but even if I will have to serve the suspension it does not mean hockey is over for me. My job is to play and no one can stop me from training. I still have one month to think about my appeal and I will discuss with people around me about how to go about it,” Gurbaj told Deccan Herald.
In fact, it is the second time that Gurbaj is facing disciplinary action after the 2012 Olympics.
Harbinder justified the decision taken by the HIL disciplinary panel.
“We had been getting repeated reports about his conduct. He is a good player but we had similar reports about him in London Olympics by Michael Nobbs and all assistant coaches. This time also we were told about his arrogant and unprofessional behaviour, creating groupism and non-serious attitude which affected other team members also. If the coaches tell him to play in any other position other than right midfield, he was not willing. So it was time we send across a strong message to everyone that such behaviour will not be tolerated,” Harbinder told Deccan Herald.
“However, it does not mean he can’t participate in the Olympics. The bans get over in May, so he still has time,” he said.