New Delhi, Nov. 25: In a big embarrassment for Indian hockey, players of Punjab Police and Punjab National Bank on Monday got involved in an ugly brawl during the final of the 56th Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey tournament, prompting the organisers to impose bans on both sides.
National federation Hockey India also sought a detailed report from the tournament organisers.
The brawl started in the third quarter of the match while PNB was on the attack inside the Punjab Police circle. Both teams were locked at 3-3 at that point of time. The players exchanged blows and fought with sticks inside the turf for a while before the tournament officials rushed to douse the fire.
#WATCH Delhi: Scuffle broke out between Punjab Police Hockey & Punjab National Bank Hockey teams during Nehru Cup finals. Elena Norman, Hockey India CEO says, "We're awaiting official report from Tournament officials, based on which Hockey India will take necessary action." pic.twitter.com/Yz3LAtGPl7— ANI (@ANI) November 25, 2019
The match continued following a brief interruption with eight players on each side after the on-field umpires showed red cards to three players each from both teams. Besides, the Punjab Police manager was also shown the red card for instigating his players.
PNB, eventually, lifted the title by winning the match 6-3. Dismayed and disturbed by the incident, the managing committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey Tournament Society decided to impose bans on both the teams.
"It is therefore decided to suspend both the teams from participating in the tournament. Punjab Police has been suspended for a period of four years while PNB has been banned for two years," the tournament organisers said in a statement.
The organisers further added that they will ask management of both the teams to take strict action against the "errant" players".
The incident didn't go down well with Hockey India, which immediately sought a detailed report from its Tournament Director, Mahesh Kumar. "We are waiting for the official report from the tournament officials and on its basis Hockey India will take necessary action," HI CEO Elena Norman said.
Repeated attempts from PTI to reach out to the tournament director went in vain. Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra, who is also the chief of International Hockey Federation (FIH), also called on HI to take strict action against the players and officials involved in the ruckus.
"Such irresponsible teams and their careless and uncensored managements, such players and weak and spineless organising committees spoil the name of the game and bring bad reputation to the sport," a fuming Batra said. "I urge Hockey India to take maximum strict action," he added.