Coach Harendra blames refereeing for India's exit

Dutch coach Max Caldas, though, credited his team for taking it chances as it progressed to the 2018 Hockey World Cup semifinals and refuted Harendra Singh's claims of poor officiating in their quarterfinal clash at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Indian skipper Manpreet Singh (first from right) appeals for a penalty corner in the final minutes of the match against Netherlands.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

India lost the quarterfinal against Netherlands and, though the team did waste many chances, coach Harendra Singh was clear in his assessment – the team was robbed of a win or even a fighting chance by poor umpiring on the field.

“At the Asian Games, my captain was given a foul for blocking in shootouts but later the Tournament Director admitted in his report it was a mistake. It happened again here today," a teary-eyed but clearly angry Harendra said after the game.

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"This team has reached a level where we are not looking for favours. All I want is equality for both sides when it comes to decisions – the same penalties for same errors. This (umpiring) is one of the parts of FIH community that doesn’t want to improve and if they don’t, you will keep getting these results,” he added.

“Can anyone explain when Amit Rohidas was given a 10-min suspension for foul in our 23-yard, why was nothing done when (Manpreet) was pushed in their 23-yard area from behind? I have always been very vocal in official meetings, asking for videos of umpiring decisions and explain what was right and wrong because when we go back to team meetings, the players ask us questions."


Harendra Singh talks to the Indian team after its loss to Netherlands.   -  AP


“Data says 99.9 percent times referrals go in players’ favour. What are the umpires on the field for? Are you officiating the umpires? Are they waiting for teams to go for referrals? We cannot have arrogant umpiring,” he fumed.

Captain Manrpeet Singh agreed. “Because of them we are losing and then people ask us why Indian hockey is not improving. Even if we lodge a protest, what’s the use? The game is lost, the appeal will continue to be there but that is not going to make any difference,” Manpreet said.

— Dutch coach downplays refereeing, credits his team —

Dutch coach Max Caldas, unsurprisingly, was not too concerned about the officiating and said, “The team with most chances wins the game and we won the game. That's the bottomline. In the end, the umpires didn't play the game. I think we always talk about it, playing as good as we can, to make sure that the ball goes the other way and can't cost us the game."

"We never discuss umpires because they have just done their job. We review games, not umpires. We review our own performance. It happened to us at the Champions Trophy when a call went against us and we had a draw against India,” he shrugged.

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