Monday, June 23, 2008

MHF Forms Probe Committee

Coach Sarjit Singh (right) waiting for his turn to be called by the committee.
Journalists waiting outside the MHF office in Bukit Jalil.Journalists waiting outside the MHF office in Bukit Jalil.
THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will set up an independent three-man committee to probe the drastic performance slide in the national team.
“The management committee will not comment on allegations of bribery and match-fixing which were highlighted in the press recently. We will also not conduct an in-house investigation on the matter because we feel the police should be allowed to do their job first.
“However, the management committee decided to form an independent three-man committee to look into the slide of performance among players,” said MHF president Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor yesterday.
MHF deputy president Tunku Majid Sultan Iskandar and vice-president Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema were among those who attended the management committee meeting yesterday.
The national team, after a silver in the Azlan Shah Cup and a bronze medal in the Asia Cup last year, failed perform at the Beijing Olympic Qualifier and then finished last in the Azlan Shah Cup this year.
“The committee will not be totally alien to hockey, but none will be from the present circle of administrators. This way, we can truly have people who know the game, but are currently independent of the administration to probe the slide in the sport,” said Dr Cheema.
National coach Sarjit Singh was called to the meeting and said: “I have presented a n in-depth report on the Azlan Shah Cup and also the Japan Qualifier as requested. And I have also been given the green-light by the management committee to lodge a police report tomorrow (today) so that those who have written ‘poison-pen e-mails’, and blogged about the coaching set-up will be investigated.
“We want to know who these people are, as they have tarnished the name of the MHF’s coaching set-up,” said Sarjit.
A series of e-mails, alleging that national players have been involved in bribery, match-fixing, betting in English Premier League matches and money-lending activities have been circulating after the Japan Qualifier.
“We did not act on the e-mails because they did not have the name of sender(s) so we took them as poison-pen letters. But after the e-mails were re-produced in print (newspaper) and it became ‘public domain’, we lodged a police report because there were allegations of criminal activities,” said Anwar.
The police, according to Anwar, have yet to call any official or player for questioning.
And when Anwar was asked if the three-man committee will question players and officials on the above allegations, he said: “That is up to them, but in the course of their investigation, if anything comes out, we will report it to the police as we want to get to the bottom of this matter, right or wrong.”