In what can only be described as taking two steps backwards, the Asian Hockey Federation has disregarded several regulations that have been implemented in world hockey of late.
For the ongoing Asia Cup in Ipoh, the AHF has opted not to implement the 45-second regulation for penalty corners as well as along the ball to be played above the shoulder.
Ad to cap it all, the organisors, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation have failed to provide the video referral system that could help teams overcome contentious decisions made by the umpires during the course of a match.
It was only in June that the two regulations and video umpire were successfully used in the World League Semi Finals, both in Holland and Malaysia.
A Technical Official serving at the Asia Cup who spoke on a condition of animosity revealed that they received instructions from AHF that the new regulations will not be implemented and that there will not be video referrals at the tournament. which also serves as a 2014 World Cup Qualifier.
India coach Roelant Oltmans was particularly peeved at different rules being applied six weeks apart.
“One has to be fair to the players as you cannot have different rules when the ultimate if qualification for the same tournament. The World League was qualification for the World Cup, hence gere in the Asia Cup the same regulations should be used so as not to confuse the players,” said Oltmans who is also the Technical Director for Hockey India.
“To me I do not care about what the federations think but fairness to the players is important as they cannot be subject to different regulations in every tournament. There must be consistency.
“On the video referral, the advantages have been proven time and again so I find it odd that it is not done in the Asia Cup which is a crucial tournament. Different regulations not only causes problems to players and coaches but also confusesa the spectators and that is not good for the sport”
MHC should have the expertise on providing the video referral and the “shot clock” for the penalty corners as it was successfully done for the World league in Johor Baru.
“It just does not make much sense to have different continents trying to qualify for major events with a different set of rules, and for different qualification events to follow different rules,” said Revington.
“It is not fair on the qualification process and for the players. The FIH and the various Continental Federations should be working better in this regard to ensure consistent qualification standards.
When asked if financial constraints was the issue as countries in Asia could not afford the cost of the video referral technology, Revington had this to say:
“The issue is always do we follow the high (expensive) standards of Europe or lower them for the continents where money, resources and finance is an issue?
“At present the difference in qualification standards across continents does not make sense.”