Distraught Gurbaj Seeks Legal Help to Tackle Suspension

Published: 02nd October 2015 04:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2015 04:50 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Seasoned right-half Gurbaj Singh, who was slapped with a nine-month ban for allegedly creating groups in the team, has approached the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Jalandhar to overturn the decision. He has filed a petition against Hockey India’s disciplinary committee, who took the extreme step on the basis of a report by former assistant coach Jude Felix.

Gurbaj.jpgGurbaj had earlier appealed to the HI’s appellate tribunal, but the federation stuck to their decision. “I had no other option but to seek the court’s intervention. I don’t have any grouse against the HI, but there is no other option for me to be back in the team in time for the Rio Games than this. It’s my dream to represent my country in the Olympics,” the 27-year-old told Express.

Though his ban expires by May 2016, two months before the Olympics, he is not willing to bide time. “By that time, the probables will be announced. So I don’t think they would bypass the list to select me. Also, I need to stay match fit. Even now I’m training very hard, but playing a match is an altogether different experience and I need to play as many matches as possible before the event,” he said.

In his petition, he has argued that the disciplinary committee had taken an extreme step against him. “First, if the coaches didn’t like anything about my behaviour or if they thought I was not disciplined, they could have discussed it with me and settled it then and there. Or they could have given me lighter punishments. This is a very lengthy ban, which is normally meted out to players who have done more heinous crimes. They didn’t call me for a hearing before deciding to ban me. And when they eventually called me, they were unwilling to listen to me. It’s especially frustrating when you know you are playing the best hockey of your career. I was shocked when I heard this,” said Gurbaj, who will also miss the prestigious Hockey India League slated early next year.

Meanwhile, an HI official, part of the disciplinary committee, said they punished Gurbaj only after they were convinced of his negative influence on several teammates. “Let him take us (HI) to court. We have enough evidence of him creating rifts in the team. Otherwise, why should we axe a player who has been performing well on the field. And we didn’t take the decision based on just one person’s report,” he elaborated.

The court will hear the matter on October 6.


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