After a lot of drama by Hockey India (HI) regarding Harbir Singh Sandhu's visa rejection by organisers of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, it seems they will now have no option but to abide by the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) decision.
It has been revealed that Harbir's visa was rejected thrice by UK authorities due to faulty papers – in 2008 (work visa), in 2009 (student visa) and in 2012 (visa for London Olympics). Hence, HI, which had earlier threatened to pull out of the mega event in its executive committee meeting held in New Delhi on Saturday, has now decided to toe the IOA line.
However, when dna contacted Harbir on Saturday, the 24-year-old denied providing any information to HI officials on the entire issue, nor receiving any intimation about their investigation. He also refused to clarify whether his visa had been rejected earlier by the UK authorities.
"I don't know what they have decided. I never spoke to any HI official. It will be better if you ask HI, as I have been told to only concentrate on the national camp," he said, adding that he was still confident HI will continue to back him.
But an HI official, who was part of the meeting, said there was no question of threatening to pull out now.
"We will now have no option but to go by what the IOA says regarding the matter," he added.
Asked if any action will be taken against Harbir for not disclosing anything about his prior rejections to HI, the official said, "Look, he just has a problem with a UK visa. He has travelled all across the world with the team. So it won't be right for us to take any action against him based on just this. We will see what best can be done with this issue."
Other key decisions
- New FIH rules of playing four quarters of 15 minutes each will be introduced in India in all domestic tournaments from June 1, 2014
- Relegation of Hockey Andhra Pradesh from permanent member to associate member for changing its president without any prior intimation to HI
- Disaffiliation of Hockey Hyderabad (associate member) for not being an active member
- Disaffiliation of Hockey Delhi (permanent member) for changing its president and constitution without any prior intimation or approval of HI