Pic: Competitions manager Brian Fernandez
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee is like a magnet for controversies, and this time, has riled the feathers of states, officials, umpires and players by organising the Razak Cup smack on Deepavali.
In a short letter sent to their affiliates, competitions committee manager Brian Fernandez said the men's and women's Razak Cup will be held on Nov 3-11 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Deepavali is on Nov 6.
And in a prompt reply to the competitions committee email, Negri Sembilan HA said they will withdraw from the Razak Cup if the dates are not changed.
"The Negri HA has already sent an email to the MHC competitions committee stating that if the dates are not changed we will withdraw from the tournament.
"It is not fair to hold it during the Deepavali period as I have players who celebrate the event. I am sure there are also many officials, umpires and players from other states who want to balik kampung during that period," said NSHA secretary P. Tamil Selvam.
Negri have Malaysia's No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar, former national player K. Keevan Raj and former national juniors G. Kavin Kartik in their Razak Cup squad this year.
NSHA coaching chairman S. Chandran echoed his secretary's sentiments.
"We have four players who celebrate Deepavali and they are the backbone of Negri. I am sure they will not want to play during that period so the MHC can hold it a week before or a week after the celebrations," said Chandran.
Tamil Selvan also said he has heard from a member of the competitions committee that during their last meeting the Razak Cup date was not blocked.
"So if the committee did not set the date, who is responsible for this gaffe?," questioned Tamil Selvam.
Lasy year, the competitions committee only held one meeting and then they removed its eight members when their term expired in February and only appointed new members in June.
And all the new members had to sign a 'code of conduct' letter.
"I can't say anything about the latest issue because I have signed a code of conduct document. Sufficient to say, we have been receiving brickbats after the dates were announced (Thursday)," said a member who can't even reveal his name because of the regimental rules.
The committee has recommended to do away with Division One in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) next season, leaving about 10 clubs in jeopardy.
The plan is to host only the Premier Division, and this has not gone down well with many states who run clubs as well.
Phone calls and messages to Brian were not answered.