Indian Hockey team coach, Harendra Singh, did not hold back his emotions while slamming referees post India’s defeat to Netherlands in World Cup quarterfinal on December 13, 2018. Harendra was not happy with the two yellow cards shown to Hardik Singh and Amit Rohidas. What made him even angrier was referees’ bias as Dutch defenders were not booked for similar fouls. He started off the post-match press conference by saying, “My warrior team can only fight 11 vs 11. But not 13 vs 11,”.
He did not just blame them for their exit in World Cup but in Asia Cup 2018 too. He felt that poor umpiring caused their early exit from two major tournament as well. He explained,
“I am opening up today, I have been quiet for a while. I did not file a protest at the Asian Games. In the shootout against Malaysia at the Games, my captain was given a yellow card for blocking. But later, it was revealed that it was not a case of blocking. Umpiring is one of the committees in International Hockey Federation that they do not want to improve. We will continue to face similar results as long as it does not,”
This was probably India’s best chance to book a semi-final berth in the World Cup in 43 years, as they were off to a good start in the tournament. He also emphasised on the fact that almost every video referral goes in favour of the players showing the incompetence of referees.
“When the players go for the video referral, most of the times it goes in their favor. Why don’t the umpires get it right the first time? We cannot depend every time on the referrals,”
Indian skipper Manpreet Singh backed his coach’s statements. However, he felt that appealing against the umpires won’t change anything as the damage has been done already with India out of World Cup contention.