Several players injured after domestic hockey match turns violent

Players and support staff of Punjab Police and PNB were involved in an ugly brawl leading to multiple injuries during a match in Nehru senior hockey tournament.

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For a couple of years, the Punjab Police hockey team seemed to have turned over a new leaf in terms of on-field discipline after being barred from the domestic circuit. On Monday, it was back to its violent ways and found its match in Punjab National Bank.

The final of the 56th Nehru senior hockey tournament on Monday saw the teams getting into a free-for-all even as officials tried to separate the players. “It was so unexpected and unprovoked that before anyone could react, it had turned into a game of swinging sticks. It took a couple of minutes for tournament and team officials and umpires to get into the act and separate the teams. By then, things had deteriorated badly,” an official of the organising committee said.

 

The incident happened in the 43rd minute of the game with the scoreline tied 3-3 and PNB in possession of the ball and on the attack. Inside the Punjab Police circle, there was minor pushing between PP’s Hardeep Singh and PNB’s Sumit Toppo. Hardeep then swung his stick at Toppo’s legs, who responded by a wild swish of his own at Hardeep’s face.

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That was all it took for things to go downhill with both teams and even their managers getting into the act. The fight got carried on to the sidelines for several minutes before things settled down. Several players, from both sides, including the two who started it all, had to seek medical assistance and needed stitches. The match continued with eight players each with three each from either side being red-carded, along with the PP manager Amit Sandhu. PNB eventually won the game 6-3.

Nehru Hockey Tournament Society secretary Kukoo Walia said strict action would be taken against both teams. “The incident has marred the entire tournament which had been conducted peacefully so far. Strict action would be taken against both teams, no one is innocent in this case. As the secretary, I would be recommending a ban of minimum two years on both teams,” Walia, who is also a member of the society’s disciplinary committee, said.

While Hockey India did not comment on the issue, only saying they were still waiting for official reports from all concerned including the umpires and the tournament director, IOA president and former Hockey India president Narinder Batra condemned the incident. “Such irresponsible teams and their careless/unconcerned management, such players and weak and spineless organising committees spoil the name of the game and bring bad reputation to the sport. I urge Hockey India to take maximum strict action,” he said.