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Indian men”s hockey team chief coach Paul van Ass on Monday claimed that he has been fired by Hockey India following his alleged public altercation with federation president Narinder Batra.
“As far I know I was fired one week after the Hockey World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium. Roelant Oltmans (High Performance Director) was asked to replace me,” Van Ass told PTI from The Netherlands.
“I have been told on January 13 that Dr Batra doesn”t want me to be the coach any more. Roelant called me and informed me about this,” he said.
“I am yet to get official confirmation but I expect it to get it by the end of this week. That is precisely the reason why I didn”t turn up for the camp,” the Dutchman said. Van Ass”s future with the Indian team was in serious doubt after he failed to report on time for the national team”s camp that negan at the scenic Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh yesterday.
The theory that the Dutchman won”t be continuing as the coach gathered further steam when he failed to submit his report on India”s performance at the recently concluded World Hockey League semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium.
According to media reports, Van Ass had a public spat with HI president Narinder Batra after the quarter-final match against Malaysia at the World League semifinals. Asked Van Ass about the possible reason behind his unceremonious ouster, he said: “There is no reason, they will find a reason now.” Van Ass confirmed that the public spat with Batra during the World League Semi-finals was the main reason for his ouster.
“After our win over Malaysia Dr Batra came on the pitch and spoke to players in Hindi. I thought he was commending the players but instead it turned out he was criticising the players,” he said.
“Then I jumped and because pitch is my area and I need to protect my players. Also I felt we played quite well in that match and won it.”
But Hockey India president Narinder Batra refuted reports that hockey chief coach Paul Van Ass has been sacked from his position.
Earlier, reports stated that Van Ass had been expelled following the public spat he had with Batra after the quarter-final clash against Malaysia at the Hockey World League Semifinals (HWLS).
However, Batra told ANI that Van Ass had not been sacked from the position of Indian hockey team coach.
Van Ass, who was appointed as the head coach in January, failed to report on time for the national camp which started on 18 July in Himachal Pradesh. The Dutchman guided the Sardar Singh-led side to the fourth spot in the just concluded tournament.
Sports Ministry officials on the other hand clarified to PTI that they are yet to receive any form of communication on Indian men”s hockey team coach Paul van Ass, who claims to have been sacked by Hockey India.
“We have received no communication from Hockey India on this,” said Sports Secretary Ajit Sharan when asked about Van Ass. “We have no knowledge of his sacking,” another Ministry official added.
SAI pays Van Ass” salary but no senior official from the Ministry”s nodal agency was available for comments on yet another controversy hitting Indian hockey.
Earlier on Monday, Van Ass created a flutter by claiming that he has been fired by Hockey India following his alleged public altercation with federation president Narinder Batra.
After days of intense speculation over his fate, the outspoken Dutchman came out in the open to clear his position and said that he was conveyed that his services were no longer required.