I was fired as Indian hockey coach: Van Ass
After days of intense speculation over his fate, the outspoken Dutchman on Monday came out in the open to clear his position and said that he was conveyed that his services were no longer required.
“As far I know I was fired one week after the Hockey World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium. Roelant Oltmans (High Performance Director) was asked to replace me,” Van Ass told PTI from The Netherlands.
“I have been told on January 13 that Dr. Batra doesn’t want me to be the coach any more. Roelant called and informed me about this,” he said.
“I am yet to get official confirmation but I expect it to get it by the end of this week. That is precisely the reason why I didn’t turn up for the camp,” the Dutchman said.
There was no immediate confirmation of the development Hockey India or Van Ass’ employer the Sports Authority of India. Hockey India has outrightly denied that Van Ass’ has been sacked and said that he had not reported for his duty on the stipulated date.
If Van Ass is indeed relived of his duty he would become the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door even since Hockey India took the reins of the game in 2009.
Van Ass’s predecessors Jose Brasa, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh -- all of whom were hired by SAI on the recommendations of HI at hefty salaries -- also left the country on an unceremonious note.
Van Ass’s future with the Indian team was in serious doubt after he failed to report on time for the national team’s camp that began at the scenic Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.
The theory that the Dutchman won’t be continuing as the coach gathered further steam when he failed to submit his report on India’s performance at the recently concluded World Hockey League semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium.
According to media reports, Van Ass had a public spat with HI president Narinder Batra after the quarter-final match against Malaysia at the World League semifinals.
No info yet on sacking: Ministry
Sports Ministry officials on Monday clarified that they are yet to receive any form of communication on Indian men’s hockey team coach Paul van Ass, who claims to have been sacked by Hockey India.
“We have received no communication from Hockey India on this,” said Sports Secretary Ajit Sharan when asked about Van Ass. “We have no knowledge of his sacking,” another Ministry official added.
SAI pays Van Ass’ salary but no senior official from the Ministry’s nodal agency was available for comments on yet another controversy hitting Indian hockey. Earlier on Monday, Van Ass created a flutter by claiming that he has been fired by Hockey India following his alleged public altercation with federation president Narinder Batra. After days of intense speculation over his fate, the outspoken Dutchman came out in the open to clear his position and said that he was conveyed that his services were no longer required.