Sreejesh banned retrospectively by Hockey India

Interestingly, the disciplinary committee hearing was held on December 22 and the decision to impose the 15-day ban – that gets over on Friday – was backdated from that date.

With the ban period coinciding with a break for the players from national duty or camp, it has made little difference to either the team or the player himself.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Hockey India finally made its decision on goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh public, imposing a 15-day ban on the India captain for participating in a celebrity football match way back in October last year without seeking official permission from the federation.

Interestingly, the disciplinary committee hearing was held on December 22 and the decision to impose the ban – that gets over on Friday – was backdated from that date. While Sreejesh had clarified his position and also apologised to Hockey India soon after the event, an RTI query had forced the federation to take action.

With the ban period coinciding with a break for the players from national duty or camp, it made little difference to either the team or the player himself. The team regrouped for its next assignment – a four-nation tournament in New Zealand that starts January 14 – in Bengaluru on Thursday with Sreejesh included in the 33-member group.

The federation admitted Sreejesh had not been part of the national team during the period and that, along with his impeccable disciplinary record in the past, had resulted in the limited ban.

“Though Sreejesh was not part of the national team during this period, the goalkeeper was undergoing rehabilitation for a serious knee injury sustained during the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in May 2017. His decision breaches Hockey India's Code of Conduct and hence was handed a 15-day suspension which ends on 5 January 2018,” the federation said.

He has also been reprimanded with a 12-month probation period.