The six-member committee, constituted by Sports Authority of India (SAI) to study the proposals of Indian hockey coach Terry Walsh, met the Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
In a major setback for Indian hockey, the men’s national team chief coach Terry Walsh today officially quit from his post after his contractual talks with Hockey India and the SAI broke down but a fresh proposal is still being worked out for the Australian’s consideration.
“Mr Terry Walsh had a meeting with the Honourable Sports Minister today along with the committee at 14:30 hours. The minister applauded Mr Terry Walsh’s recent performance and believed that Mr Walsh is the right man to take Indian Hockey forward,” said Setia in a statement.
“The committee comprising of former Indian hockey players Ajit Pal Singh, Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal, High Performance Director Rolant Oltmans, SAI’s Executive Director (Teams) Sudhir Setia and Hockey India CEO Elena Norman decided to meet the Sports Minister after two days of meeting.
“The minister patiently listened to Mr Walsh’s proposals and have agreed to all of them in principles and have asked the committee to find more details.However, Mr. Walsh stated that he needs few days off to go back to Australia. He will then have a re look at all the proposals offered in a positive manner towards renewal of his contract.” Setia said.
Walsh, whose contract was to come to an end tomorrow, had already submitted his resignation last month after his demands for a greater say in team decisions and hand-picked support staff were turned down by HI and Sports Authority of India.
Besides Walsh, a six-member committee, constituted by SAI to study Walsh’s proposals, also met Sports Minister today.
Walsh, on his part said he would be looking into the new proposal.
“There has been a proposal, which I am waiting to see.
When the document comes I will look at it but I am going to take a couple of days away from the program which is really difficult to do at this stage. But I believe if I don’t do that I am not going to be of any use to anybody because all these which is going on has been quite difficult.
“I would be very surprised if it’s later than this weekend. It won’t be later than this weekend,” Walsh said.
Walsh made it clear that his differences were with Hockey India rather than SAI as earlier perceived.
“We have reached an impasse in proceedings regarding my involvement with the program but there may be a way forward. This must be finalised between Hockey India and myself.”
Walsh completely denied that the alleged financial irregularities when he was associated with USA Hockey as pointed by HI president Narinder Batra was the reason for the deadlock.
“That’s a complete inactual fact. It’s something that came from USA field hockey but which has been solved nearly 18 months ago. It’s a thing of the past, it’s about contractual arrangement where it was agreed that they will use all my software program inside their environment and it just escalated from there,” he said.
Asked about the exact bone of contention, Walsh said: “My objective is to spend some time in my Perth office when we don’t have necessary program running in India and that has been misconstrued as holidays and paid leave.”
Walsh’s continuance had become doubtful after reports emerged that he had developed serious differences with HI president Batra.
Batra had alleged that Walsh had indulged in “financial fraud” during his stint with USA Hockey and he was reluctant to keep the Australian on board.
Walsh said he had a word with Batra on the issue and had clarified his position.
“Yes, I have spoken to him and gave him very clear indication that what’s going on in the press in unacceptable and really there needs to be retraction from that perspective. There is no problem in that area.
“I sense that a lot of things are brought on the table quite unnecessarily,” he said.
“I am really pleased that SAI and Hockey India are working together at the moment.”
Asked if he was looking for a salary hike, he said: “Yes, that’s a part of it and I’m not hiding that. The team has done extremely well in the last one year and in business and organisations this is what happens. I am not trying to be mercenary about anything. I also believe that domestic coaches should be receiving more salaries than what they do.”
Walsh said the players were shocked when he told them about the present situation.
“They were quite shocked. They have been waiting very patiently. I am very impressed with the way they have handled things in what has been a very difficult situation. Before we went to Perth I spoke to them and told them exactly what was going on,” he said.
Walsh got a supporter in Indian hockey’s High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, who feels the Australian’s “work from home” demand was justified but has been misinterpreted.
“There are certain demands to be a coach of India and there are certain periods when you can work from anywhere in the world. For example, coaches do a lot of work on video analysis. In video analysis you need footage, you need a screen and a software program,” Oltmans said.
“There are certain practical things like training sessions, competitions, training out Under-21 program, involvement in coach development, involving in national championships which you can’t do from Australia and that’s
“We have a program and it is very clear when Terry needs to be in India or with the team,” the legendary Dutchman added.
If Walsh does not come back, it can be counted as a setback to Indian hockey, considering that the team had been producing good results under him. The team recently won the Asian Games gold medal after a gap of 16 years, which also fetched them qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Before this, the team had won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games and most recently defeated world champions Australia in an away Test series.
Earlier, a three-member panel had been formed to look into Walsh’s demands but it failed to come to any “conclusion”.
The panel comprising former hockey captains Ajit Pal Singh, Ashok Kumar and Zafar Iqbal met Walsh, Oltmans and SAI officials twice but could not come up with a solution to end the logjam.
Apart from a greater say in decisions and support staff of his choice, Walsh has also sought 120 days paid leave in a year during which he has committed to stay available over video conference for players.