‘Indian hockey chief coach van Ass not returning’

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Indian hockey chief coach Paul van Ass, who has been claiming that he has been sacked, is not “returning”, Olympian Haribinder Singh, chairman of the Hockey India (HI)-formed special committee to review the men and women teams’ performance, revealed after a meeting here on Friday.

Even though the HI has not issued any official communication, Harbinder Singh’s quotes could go a long way in deciding the fate of the Dutchman, who was appointed on January 30.

The talk of van Ass being fired emerged after he and HI president Narinder Batra had an altercation during the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final after India’s quarter-final win over Malaysia in Antwerp on July 1.

Since then, van Ass, who guided his country to two silver medals in the 2012 Olympics and 2014 World Cup, has not retuned to India and didn’t even attend the ongoing fitness camp in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh.

“We are not considering van Ass since he is not responding, so there is no question of him returning,” Harbinder told reporters after marathon meeting at the HI office, which also involved B.P. Govinda, V. Baskaran, A.B. Subbaiah, Thoiba Singh, R.P. Singh, Asunta Lakra and Jasjeet Kaur.

“We have given our recommendations on the van Ass matter to Hockey India but we can’t reveal them. It’s for Hockey India to decide now,” he said.

“He will not come back at any cost. We have not considered him.”

Harbinder, who is also a national selector, also commented on the committee’s view on the team’s performance in Belgium. “To finish fourth at World League semis was good but not satisfactory,” he said.

If Harbinder’s words are any indication, van Ass, 54, will become the fourth foreigner chief coach to be fired by HI.

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