Charlesworth quits as India’s hockey consultant

July 10th, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

By V. Srivatsa and Avishek Roy
New Delhi/ Hyderabad, July 10 (IANS) Ric Charlesworth’s honeymoon with Indian hockey is over. The high-profile Australian consultant has put in his papers and left Hyderabad for Delhi en route to Melbourne Wednesday night. Secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Randhir Singh told IANS that Charlesworth has indeed quit, but his resignation is kept on hold. A decision would be taken only after meeting the International Hockey Federation (FIH) officials as the international body had deputed him as the technical director to assist the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).

An ad hoc committee member said that some of Charleworth’s demands were unreasonable and unacceptable.

“He had asked for a bomb as salary, to the tune of $70,000 per annum from the government and another $70,000 from the FIH Olympic solidarity fund,” said the official not wanting to be named. Over and above the Australian had asked for unimaginable perks, he added.

The official said the Australian’s tenure in India was nothing much to speak of. He was flitting in and out of the country attending seminars and workshops making Delhi his base. He used every excuse to go to Australia, making his stay in India uneventful.

Before leaving Hyderabad, where he was to assess the performance of the Indian players in the Junior Asia Cup, starting Friday, Charlesworth told the media that he was frustrated at the way the the hockey administration ran the sport in the country.

Citing reasons for his quitting, Charleworth stated that he was mischievously not allowed to be a part of the men’s OIympic qualifiers by the IHF and the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

“The problems in is the plans are of short-term. I have seen both the men’s and the women’s teams. I came here with an optimistic approach and when I saw the players for the first time I felt they are extremely gifted. I feel my impact here would have been that of a catalyst,” he told a television channel.

He said he was extremely unhappy with the nature of his assignment and the tardy pace of progress in the execution of his recommendations.

“I cannot work in a pressure-cooker atmosphere. Moreover, the expected changes in the system did not come about. I had told K. P. S. Gill ( the ousted IHF president) the steps needed to be taken to revamp the system, ” he said.

Charlesworth also said he had expected India to learn from the debacle in Olympic qualifier, but that had not happened.

“I thought it (debacle) will act like a catalyst but unfortunately other events have conspired to derail the process. There should be an urgency and the crisis should be handled in a professional way,” he said.

Charlesworth said he was clueless about his role in Indian hockey and although he was appointed as consultant before the the Olympic qualifiers, he was still not clear what he was expected to do.

Charlesworth was also unhappy with the scheduling of his work by SAI.

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