Miffed with the ‘timekeeping’ fiasco that rocked the Commonwealth Games, an angry Hockey India has asked the world body (FIH) to immediately amend the regulations and take strict action against technical officials, who commit such errors. The Indian women’s team was undone by a horrendous stopwatch faux pas by technical officials in the shoot-out against Australia in the CWG semifinal on Saturday, which it eventually lost 0-3 following a 1-1 stalemate after 60 minutes. Rosie Malone fluffed Australia’s first attempt in the penalty shoot-out as India skipper Savita Punia pulled off an excellent block. But the striker got a second chance after the timekeeping error and this time she scored which changed the momentum of the game.

The incident created a huge furore with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) immediately apologising for the human error and ordering a review.

In a letter to FIH CEO Thierry Weil, HI chief executive Elena Norman highlighted that India were always on the receiving side on such errors. “Errors during Penalty Shoot-out situations have been occurring which have consistently denied India of a meaningful result from a match at vital events such as Champions Trophy 2016, Junior Women’s World Cup 2021, Tokyo Olympics 2022 and now at CWG 2022.

“The irony is that all the above instances have happened when India is playing,” Norman claimed in her letter.

The HI official asked FIH to address the matter on a priority basis so that other teams don’t suffer from such instances in future.

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“… in the case of a failure from the team of Technical Officials, there is nothing concrete in the Regulations which needs to be followed by the participating team to ensure ‘fair and correct’ decision is provided.

“Players, coaches, hockey fans across the country requires FIH to take this matter on a series note and immediately amend the regulations which allows a participating team to avail the opportunity of a fair and correct decision,” Norman wrote.

“…Technical Officials whose actions lead to denying the ‘fair & correct’ decision to a participant, should not be appointed for major competitions and substantial inquiry must be conducted to ensure such situations don’t happen again in the future.” Norman said it’s time the FIH should address the issue without just sidestepping the matter by terming it a ‘human error’.

“With the present situation, just letting go of the situation by simply saying it was a ‘Human Error’ is giving more opportunities and excuses to the Technical Officials to not concentrate or focus, making decisions as they wish and be unaccountable.

“The disappointment is that these officials again get appointed for major events and as such the players, coaches and teams face the brunt of the repercussions of such poor decisions,” the HI official said.

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