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Paul van Ass set to be formally axed as India hockey coach

Paul van Ass set to be formally axed as India hockey coach
The nine-member committee headed by Olympian Harbinder Singh, formed to decide on his future, has recommended that Van Ass, who had claimed that he has been fired following his altercation with Batra, should not be continued.

As per the procedure, it is now for Hockey India to make a formal announcement about the Dutchman’s future with Indian hockey. Van Ass had taken over as the coach from Terry Walsh, incidentally also sacked after a spat with Batra, just five months ago.

A top Hockey India official said President Batra will have discussions with <g data-gr-id="50">High Performance</g> Director Roelant Oltmans and Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials in the next couple of days before formally announcing Van Ass’ ouster.

Van Ass, on his part, blamed an “autocratic” Batra for his ouster and said the recommendation to remove him did not come as a “surprise” to him.

“I knew the decision already. I am not surprised. He (Batra) was just finding ways to fire me and he 
did it. He should apologise for it (tarnishing my reputation),” Van Ass told PTI from his home in Rotterdam.

“I won’t call him a <g data-gr-id="45">dictator</g> but he is an autocratic person. How can he single-handedly take all the decisions? How can he single-handedly fire me to please his ego? ,” he said.

The development leaves India without a coach with barely a year to go for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for which the team has already qualified by virtue of their gold medal in last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

The committee’s decision also puts an end to days of uncertainty over the future of the Dutchman, who had gone on record to say that he was willing to come back as coach provided there was no interference.

“We gave our recommendation to Hockey India. Hockey India and Sports Authority of India will now take the final call,” <g data-gr-id="49">Harbinder</g> said.

When prodded further, <g data-gr-id="53">Harbinder</g> said, “He has not yet submitted his report on Hockey World League semifinals. He is not taking our calls, nor responding to our <g data-gr-id="54">mails</g>. The tickets were sent to <g data-gr-id="52">him</g> but he lied he didn’t receive any tickets. “ “Under such circumstances, the committee has worked under the assumption that Paul won’t return. There is no question of him returning. But Hockey India will take the final decision based on our report.” 

Asked whether they had recommended the appointment of a new foreign coach or give the reins of the team to <g data-gr-id="58">High Performance</g> Director Oltmans till the Olympics, Harbinder said: We are not mandated to talk about it. We have given our suggestion to Hockey India and it is confidential.” It has been learnt that most probably Oltmans will be given charge of the men’s team till the Rio Olympics as the committee feels with just a year to go for the mega event the Dutchman is the right person to take over the reins of the team instead of appointing a new foreign coach. 

‘Autocratic’ Batra was just finding ways to fire me: Van
The special <g data-gr-id="90">committe’s</g> <g data-gr-id="91">recomendation</g> to remove him as India’s hockey coach did not come as a surprise to Paul van Ass, who said an “autocratic” Hockey India president Narinder Batra was just finding ways to officially sack him after the <g data-gr-id="92">onfield</g> spat in Antwerp.

The nine-member committee headed by Harbinder Singh, formed to decide on his future, on Friday recommended that Van Ass, who had claimed that he has been fired following his altercation with Batra, should not be continued.

When contacted, Van Ass <g data-gr-id="88">rued</g> the weakness of the Indian system and said Batra owes him an apology for tarnishing his reputation. “I knew the decision already. I am not surprised. He (Batra) was just finding ways to fire me and he did it. He should apologise for it (tarnishing my reputation),” Van Ass told PTI from his home in Rotterdam. 
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