Monday, April 16, 2007

Umpires threaten boycott


THE Malaysian Hockey League umpires have threatened to boycott the
semifinals of the MHL and the Junior Hockey League after their colleague
B. Shaji was punched and kicked by RAMD player Shukur Hassan at the Tun
Razak Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
The incident happened during play and Shaji was asked to go home by the
technical desk while the reserve umpire was asked to continue with the
match which finally saw Navy winning 4-2 after 15 straight defeats in the
After other umpires found out about the incident, Shaji was urged to
lodge a police report but he is said to have declined after being
persuaded by Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) officials.
And while his colleagues came out vocally, with Class 1 International
Balbeer Singh leading the charge, Shaji refused to make any comments.
"I have nothing to say on the matter. You can ask the Malaysian Hockey
Federation Umpires Board (MHFUB) for answers," said Shaji when contacted
in Johor Baru.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said the matter has been referred to the
disciplinary board for further action.
"We have received a report on the incident and yes, the umpire was
kicked and punched during the RAMD-Navy match. The RAMD player (Shukur
Hassan) will be referred to the Disciplinary Board for further action,"
said Satgunam.
Umpire Balbeer, said they have taken enough abuses over the years and
this is the straw which broke the camel's back.
"I have spoken to most of the umpires who blew in the MHL and they all
agreed that if MHF fail to spruce up security during matches, none of them
will blow during the semifinals on Wednesday (tomorrow) and Friday.
"We are also contemplating not officiating during the Junior Hockey
League which begins next month if our welfare is not taken care of.
"We have been forced to take a drastic stand because over the years we
have sent in requests to the MHFUB to beef up security and provide
insurance for their umpires but our suggestions have fallen on deaf ears,"
said Balbeer.
Only Tenaga Nasional brings their own security personnel during matches
while the rest of the teams were left to fend for themselves during the
MHL umpires manager S. Karunakaran said he will bring up the matter with
the MHF.
"I will request for security during the semifinals and the umpires can
rest assured that their welfare will be taken care of. We will ensure that
policemen are stationed at the stadium in the remaining MHL matches," said
The same assurance was given by Satgunam who said that the incident was
a regretable one.
Meanwhile MHFUB chairman V. Kulasingam who attended the Competitions
Committee meeting in Kuala lumpur yesterday as an observer, said that no
action has been taken on Jagjeet Singh and Amarjit Singh for speaking
their minds to the Press.
"If we decide to take action, I assure you that the MHF secretary
Satgunam will make it public. As of right now, no action has been
initiated," said Kulasingam.
Jagjeet and Amarjit took the MHFUB for task last week for neglecting
their members but the MHFUB chairman refused to make any comments, only saying tha "the truth will be out soon."