Panel to probe Bengal hockey players’ head-shaving incident

Coach Anand Kumar had allegedly told the players during half-time that he will have their heads tonsured if they lost the match.

SAI Director Manmeet Singh Goindi said he will speak to the players and then take necessary action. (Representative Image)   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) will form a three-member committee to look into the matter of state U-19 players being asked to shave their heads following a defeat in a match.

“The committee will be formed by tonight and whoever is responsible will be taken to task,” BHA Secretary Swapan Banerjee said.

The Bengal U-19 team lost to Namdhari XI 1-5 in the quarterfinal of the Junior National Championship (B Division) in Jabalpur.

Coach Anand Kumar had allegedly told the players during half-time that he will have their heads tonsured if they lost.

While some members of the squad said they did it after returning to Kolkata out of respect and disappointment, a few said they were forced.

The U-19 squad comprised 18 players and it was learnt that all of them except two had shaved their heads. A dozen of the players were from SAI’s Eastern Regional Centre at Salt Lake.

“I scolded them during the match and never said anything after that. Why will I force them? I will talk to the players about what happened. I did not get a chance to speak to them as I am in the hospital to attend my wife,” the coach said.

SAI Director Manmeet Singh Goindi said he will speak to the players and then take necessary action.

“I will speak to the players once they are back from school. Necessary steps will be taken,” said Goindi.