Sunil, Rao still awaiting Army nod for World League
Both Sunil and Rao are from the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) as they are on the payroll of the Indian Army.
New Delhi: Striker S V Sunil and goal-keeper P T Rao are yet to get clearance from their employer to represent the national team in the Hockey World League Round 2 starting February 18 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.
Both Sunil and Rao are from the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) as they are on the payroll of the Indian Army. According to a source in Hockey India, the letters seeking permission for both the players to play in the tournament are lying unattended somewhere in the Army Headquarters.
"We have sent letters to the SSCB seeking their clearance just after their selection in the Indian team on February 5. The SSCB, then forwarded the letters to the Army Headquarters, where it is lying pending," the source told PTI.
"I don't know why they are sitting on it as the tournament is just round the corner and it is the players who are suffering because of this uncertainty. They have been selected to play for the national team and not for any professional league," he said.
"Sunil is a key player in the forwardline and Rao is our second goal-keeper. I don't understand why the Army is stopping them from playing in the Hockey World League 2, which is a qualifying event for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands," the source added.
Incidentally, Sunil and Rao were among the six players who had to go through the same ordeal before the start of the just-concluded Hockey India League.
The Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) took strong exception to the duo's participation in the HIL without permission and even ordered a disciplinary action to be initiated against them.
While Sunil represented Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the HIL, Rao played for Mumbai Magicians franchise.
Both Sunil and Rao are yet to report for the preparatory camp for the Hockey World League Round 2 which started yesterday at the National Stadium here.
"We haven't joined the camp yet. We are waiting for the clearance from ASCB. We expect something to happen by tomorrow but can't say anything," a player said on condition of anonymity.
SSCB officials, however, were unavailable for comment.