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Mar 02, 2010 at 07:03pm IST

FIH denies being harsh on Asian players

New Delhi: International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Tuesday refuted charges of being harsh on Asian players and insisted all they want is friendship and fair play.

FIH spokesman Arjen Meijer said tournament director Ken Read, an Australian, was unbiased while handing out a three-match suspension on India's centre-forward Shivendra Singh. The suspension was reduced to two matches by the appeals panel.

"The tournament director is the best we have. He would have treated even an Australian in the same way. The FIH tries all players according to the rulebook. There is no preferential treatment," said Meijer.

BIAS? FIH says tournament director Ken Read was unbiased while handing out a suspension to Shivendra Singh.

"We also have a neutral Appeal Jury. The tournment director found Shivendra's action deliberate but the appeals jury found it reckless. It's a normal practice."

Asked if the tournament director can take a suo moto action, Meijer said: "Hockey is a very fast game and at times it becomes impossible for umpires to notice everything. So the tournament director has full rights to take any action on his own."

Shivendra had been served a three-match ban by Read Monday for "deliberately hitting" Pakistan's midfielder Fareed Ahmed during Sunday's match between the sub-continental rivals, which India won 4-1.

But following an appeal by the Indian team management, the three-member Appeal Jury ruled Tuesday that Shivendra's action in raising his stick was "reckless but that he did not deliberately intend to cause injury".