Bengaluru, Sept. 17: Former coach Sjoerd Marijne finds himself in the middle of controversy even before his book hits the stands. Both the men's and women's hockey teams are set to take the former coach and publishing house HarperCollins India to court.
In his upcoming book - 'Will Power - The Inside Story of the Incredible Turnaround in Indian Women's Hockey - the former Dutch coach has accused Indian men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh of asking a young player to underperform during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the book, published by HarperCollins, the former coach wrote that the senior player asked a player "to stop playing well" so that his friends could find a place in the team. This anecdote did not go down well with the teams with both the men's and women's teams issuing a joint statement. In the statement, both teams stated that the former Indian coach levelled allegations against the senior player to publicise his book.
"We have come together to state our deep disappointment in his (Marijne's) exploitation of our personal information and false accusations. He has used his time of coaching us for commercial gain to sell his book at the cost of our reputations.
"This is a complete breach of trust and his duty of care as a coach. It also leads to all Indian athletes like us to feel vulnerable in such situations," the players said in the joint statement. "We are in the process of pursuing legal remedies against Mr. Sjoerd Marijne and the publishers of the book in question, Harper Collins."
Both the teams added that if such a thing had actually taken place then the former coach should have reported the matter to either Hockey India or his erstwhile employer, Sports Authority of India, which he didn't.
"We would like to collectively question Mr Sjoerd Marijne, that if any of the claimed incidence took place under his watch there should be record of an allegation filed to Hockey India or the Sports Authority of India at the time.
"On checking with the authorities, we have found no such record of complaint," the statement read.
Both the men's team and women's team are scaling great heights, and the players added that with the false and fabricated allegations, the former coach has questioned the integrity of the players.
"The Indian national men's and women's hockey team stand together with each other and will defend our integrity that has been brought to question by him. Our country, team and the sport of hockey are our collective top priority and under no circumstances will we allow for the integrity of any of our team members to be compromised for anyone else's personal gain," the statement said.
Marijne coached the Indian men's hockey team for nine months before he was ousted following a dismal show at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast. He later took charge of the women's team and guided it to a historic fourth-place finish at last year's Tokyo Olympics.
Source: With inputs from PTI