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Since 1st March, 1999
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Rach: The IHF is a madhouse
- Pillay in line of fire; revolt against Gill

New Delhi: India's first and only foreign hockey coach Gerhard Rach, now resigned, has come out guns blazing against the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). Calling the IHF a 'mad-house', he said there 'are differences' between the IHF president K.P.S. Gill and secretary K. Jyothikumaran.

In an interview with a television news channel on Thursday, Rach said that though his working relationship with Gill was okay, he was befuddled, so to say, with the sharp differences that were visible between the president and the secretary.

He described one particular incident when he had had a discussion regarding his contract money with the president. When he had come out of the meeting, secretary Jyothikumaran had asked him what had transpired.

'When I told him, he (Jyothikumaran) said 'the old man' may have promised me an amount, but the IHF does not have that kind of money for his job, and that if it were so, Jyothikumaran would have to pay from his 'own pocket.'

Rach, who came into the picture and took over as coach virtually days before the Athens Olympic Games after Rajinder Singh was unceremoniously sacked from his post as coach, said he felt the idea of the physical conditioning camp just before the Olympics to be a mistake in strategy. 'There was no proper planning.' The high-intensity camp was held in Arizona. 'The IHF is a madhouse,' he said.

'Such camps are held many months before the meet proper,' he said, 'or there is a possibility of player burnout. It was wrongly timed.'

However, IHF has dismissed Rach's allegations, but said it will now have to think twice before appointing a foreign coach for the national team.

Pillay was 'indisciplined', says Rach

The other shells of fire from Rach were against Dhanraj Pillay. Rach called him 'grossly indisciplined' and revealed that Pillay had been sulking because 'he wanted to carry the Indian flag at the marchpast. He would not even attend meetings.'

Meanwhile, the IHF was also rocked on Thursday by the first signs of revolt against Gill. A senior Indian Hockey Federation official accused Gill of 'ruining' the game by his 'autocratic' ways.

Narinder Batra, senior vice-president of the IHF, also demanded that the former super cop give an explanation as to how the federation funds were being spent.

'I have objections over the way the money is being spent as some players have complained to me that they have not received their dues for quite some time,' Batra said in New Delhi Thursday.

'They can throw me out if they want for raising these objections. If they do that I'll definitely go to court because it is public money that is being misused,' said the official who has been in the post for the past three years.

Batra also said that he would contest against the IHF president in the coming elections. 'The elections are due in 2006 and if there is no candidate to contest against Gill, I will stand against him. I have already sounded him about it.'

Miffed by Gill's recent comments against players like Gagan Ajit Singh and Olympians, he said whatever statements the IHF boss had made were his personal views and IHF did not endorse those.

'He is criticising good players and Olympians. These are his personal views, the IHF does not endorse these. He has no right to tell players who have achieved so much for the country when to retire. In fact, he is 70 plus, why should he not retire'

Blaming the IHF chief for the team's recent poor performances, he said, 'The players are demotivated, they are scared all the time. How can they perform in such a scenario'

'Gagan Ajit is a good player but Gill is upset because he was recently on the front pages flanked by models. What is wrong in that' He is the new face of Indian hockey. The problem is he does not want players to enjoy the limelight but himself.

'I respect him for what he has done for the country but he is ruining the game in the country.'

He said some members of the IHF ' both full and associate ' shared his views and wanted transparency and dem-ocracy to be restored in the IHF.

Batra has also shot off a letter to IHF secretary K. Jyothikumaran, demanding that all details pertaining to the general body meeting, to be conducted on January 30, be made available to the members in advance or the date be accordingly postponed.

He alleged that details were purposely not being made available so that 'members are forced to pass everything without having read about it properly.' (Agencies)

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