Sardar Singh
Sardar Singh

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) has lodged an official complaint to International Hockey Federation (FIH) about the ill-timing of former captain Sardar Singh’s interrogation by Yorkshire police during the Hockey World League in London last month in relation to a year-old sexual assault case filed by an England international hockey player of Indian-origin.

In the letter sent to International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Jason McCracken on Wednesday, HI president Mariamma Koshy referred to a June 19 incident where acting on a complaint filed by an England junior-level hockey player on June 17 relating to a year-old sexual assault case, Sardar was summoned to Leeds for questioning.

As it was on the eve of India’s high-voltage Pool B match against arch-rivals Pakistan, which India won 7-1, the hearing was postponed to June 20.

“I am writing to formally make a complaint before FIH of the recent incident that took place during Hero Hockey World League Semi-Finals that took place in London in June 2017, the incident being referred to by Hockey India related to a frivolous complaint filed by a lady in June 2017 in Leeds for incidents which took place in 2013,” the letter addressed to McCracken read.

“We request that complaint is shared/forwarded with/to relevant concerned in FIH for proper enquiry and request that our complaint also be shared with the Executive Board of FIH,” the letter further read.

Enclosed were incident reports of team manager Jugraj Singh and Sardar.

In Jugraj’s version, he said that Sardar was impacted heavily by the questioning and that after the incident India lost three back-to-back matches.

“The effect of the same can be very well seen on Sardar Singh by sitting in cramped position for 11 hours both ways in a car and 4 hours of sitting on chair for questioning. We had to make Sardar not play in match against Holland for almost 70 percent of the time due to stiffness of body. It may be noted here that Sardar Singh is the main playmaker of the Indian team,” Jugraj said.

“The incident affected the morale of the Indian team and the team lost focus & purpose and the performance of the team can be seen in matches which happened after the incident of Sardar Singh. The team lost against Holland the next day and also lost against Malaysia & Canada (both lower ranked than India) and before the incident, Indian team had won all 3 pool matches,” he added.

This was the second time Sardar has been questioned by the police in the middle of a tournament regarding the same case.

During the Hockey World League Semifinal in Antwerp in June 2015, the complainant accused Sardar of physically assaulting her.

Sardar, in his defence, cited ten alleged complaints filed by Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, a resident of Leeds. In those listed accusations, most were closed due to lack of evidence, Sardar wrote.

“I want to play for my country peacefully and I am being harassed by this lady,” Sardar wrote.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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