Narendra Batra, the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), has criticised Indian coach Harendra Singh for his comments on the umpring following the team's quarter-final loss to Netherlands. The FIH also handed striker Akashdeep Singh a two-match ban for "using language and gesture(s) that is seriously obscene, seriously offensive" at the conclusion of India's 2-1 defeat on Thursday.
"I have to follow certain protocols as FIH president. I have some views... very strong ones... on this kind of behaviour. A sport has to be played and respected. After 17th, I will be in New Delhi and I intend to speak on the matter as NOC president," Batra said, who is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Harendra had blamed the referees for India's loss against the Netherlands on Thursday. "If they [umpires] don't want to improve, we will continue to face these type of results," he had said.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil had also criticised Harendra's comments earlier. "It (questioning umpires) is not acceptable. We will not review anything, what we will review is complaints made against the umpires. That is not acceptable for FIH. A level of respect has to be there. If you lose, you have to accept it and look forward," he had said.
The controversy around Harendra's comments must be seen in the context of speculation that his contract, which was till the World Cup, is not likely to be renewed. He had only taken charge after previous coach Sjoerd Marijne had been ousted following a poor showing at the Commonwealth Games. The loss to the Netherlands ensured that Harendra's side would return with their second underwhelming performance in big tournaments this year (They had failed to defend their Asian Games gold earlier this year).
Harendra had said that umpiring was to blame for both those performance. "Two times we got a card when we hadn't done anything. But when it happened against us, they [umpires] said nothing. They need to improve. We have lost two major tournaments," he said. "We want neutral umpiring. I expect both teams to be treated equally. One wrong decision can ruin your preparation of 4-6 years," he had said.