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Mar 12, 2008 at 06:35pm IST

IHF cracks the whip on Indian hockey

Mumbai: Even as a battered Indian hockey team returned home on Wednesday morning after having missed a chance to qualify for the Olympics; the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has sent out a stern message.

The FIH has warned that Indian hockey must pull up its socks and do it quickly.

When the Indian players came back from Chile after failing to qualify, their faces told the entire story.

The outgoing coach expressed the disappointment of a distraught team.

"Cards that were given in the two matches especially against Great Britain forced us to play with 10 players for nearly 25 minutes and we got cards which were not deserving. Some players were reprimanded and they did not even get a card," chief hockey coach Joaquim Carvalho, who quit after the qualifying tournament, said.

But there is more bad news in the offing. Reports suggest that the 2010 World Cup, which was provisionally awarded to Delhi, may now be taken away.

The FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman said, "The result in Santiago shows that Indian hockey now needs to implement the operational plans which have been provided nearly a year ago as part of the 'Promoting Indian Hockey' project without any further delay. The IHF (India Hockey Federation) should take 'Promoting Indian Hockey' seriously to achieve progress in the identified areas of concern, amongst them the national teams of India."

The international body also wants the IHF's Technical Advisor Ric Charlesworth to have a greater role in the development.

Charlesowrth himself told CNN-IBN that the time has come to make the changes.

"I think if this is not a catalyst for change then nothing will be in India. India should look at what it has been doing in the past isn't enough. It should aim for putting a very good team in London (where the 2012 Olympics are going to be held)," Charlesworth said.

Though the Indian team management insists that it was just one bad day at work and umpiring decisions led to the disqualification but whatever the reason, it is an embarrassing state of affairs the memory of which most players would find hard to forget.

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