Confusion over Charlesworth remains

The IHF met the Sports Authority of India but it still isn't clear whether KPS Gill would let Ric Charlesworth have his say in Indian hockey.

updated: March 20, 2008 16:21 IST
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New Delhi:

Indian hockey is in an unnecessary mess.

In men's hockey, this week has been one for post mortem meetings. Thurdsay was Round 4 for the Indian Hockey Federation, with the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry also getting involved. But there's still no clarity on the future of Ric Charlesworth.

The Aussie legend, a technical advisor to the IHF, has the entire hockey fraternity backing him but supreme KPS Gill doesn't quite seem convinced.

The so-called Messiah arrived in New Delhi to meet the lord of Indian hockey. The results have been anything but divine with reports that KPS Gill is resisting all attempts to let Charlesworth have a greater say.

Charlesworth has been forced down Gill's throat by the FIH, the sport's world body. The super cop says the FIH is getting back at India for sidelining Charlesworth by threatening to take away the 2010 World Cup from Delhi.

Typically Gill - after all, why would he want to relinquish his 14-year-old stranglehold on Indian hockey to a legend of the game? Gill has had 18 coaches hired and fired in his tenure but Charlesworth made it quite clear that he's not here to become another statistic.

He said, "If things stay the same then I would not be interested in staying on."

The question remains - why would Gill turn away a legend in the game?

Charlesworth, 56, has won a World Cup and an Olympic silver. He's played in five Olympics and nine World Cups. He's had phenomenal success as the coach of the Australian women's team.

That's not all. The achievements are off the astro-turf as well. He's been a member of Parliament and a qualified doctor of medicine. He played state level cricket for Australia, winning the domestic title and till recently he was a high performance manager for the New Zealand cricket board.

Sandeep Singh, who has played 45 games for India, says, "It'll be nice if he gets the job. He's experienced, and has lots of ideas on attacking and on different gameplans. He can really help improve the fortunes of Indian men's hockey."

Now the big question is whether Gill will eat humble pie and allow Charlesworth a long-term contract and the chance to revive Indian hockey.