Champions Trophy: India Protest Exposes Skeletons, Jury Embarrassed
The tournament jury seemed to be in a fix when India filed an appeal against the video umpire's decision to re-take the second attempt in the shootout.
Akashdeep Singh of India kneels on the turf after missing a chance during the FIH Men's Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2016 final between Australia and India on June 17, 2016 in London, England. (Getty Images)
London: Off-field drama marred the controversial Champions Trophy Hockey title showdown as the tournament jury spent one hour and a half to find a way out to India's protest against a shootout infringement against Australia here.
The tournament jury seemed to be in a fix when India filed an appeal against the video umpire's decision to re-take the second attempt in the shootout. India had lost the shootout 1-3 after holding world champions Australia goalless in 60 minutes of regulation period last night.
It took the jury multiple replays to find a way out of the embarrassing situation that kept the result pending.
India had complained that Daniel Beale's shootout attempt was allowed to go on for more than 14 seconds and the obstruction that was cited took place outside the eight-second limit for such attempts. The score then was 1-0.
After an hour and a half of the match's conclusion, the jury eventually discovered that the ball had rolled under Indian goalkeeper's pad for a couple of seconds. The jury now cited this as the cause why the shootout was re-taken. But it still took the jury a lot of explanation to the Indian captain and coach before announcing that the result would stay.
Australia thus won the title, but both teams had to be ushered out of the ground, to send a signal for the crowd to go home.
The medal presentation was then staged in the media interview room, away from the spotlight in the middle of the pitch.
"The umpires have failed," said Narender Batra, President of Hockey India, who vehemently protested from the VIP galleries.
"Is this the quality of umpires you post in the final of the Champions Trophy?" asked Batra.
"The shootout attempt went on for over 14 seconds, and then it was re-taken. Just to cover up their shortcomings, they are now pointing out at a different incident," he said.
"If the goalkeeper had made an infringement, that a penalty stroke should have been awarded," Batra emphasised.
Indian coach Roelant Oltmans said it was "an unusual end to the tournament".
"To be honest, the set process should be followed. Our protest was not about the result, but important tournaments should follow the process," said Oltmans.
"If something like this happens at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, just imagine the embarrassment for the game," he said.
Oltmans said shootouts had witnessed several controversies in the past.
"It's not the first time there's so much protest over shootouts. The system should be revised," said Oltmans.
"We protested against wrong execution of the shootout," he said. "Is it not important that the shootouts are done properly?"
"We had to raise the issue because the process was not followed," said Oltmans.
Fancied Australia, who clinched their 14th Champions Trophy title, faced a stiff fight from the Indians, who were playing their first final.
India's lone previous medal in the Champions Trophy came 34 years ago, when they won a bronze at Amsterdam in 1982.
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