Bhubaneswar: His reputation tarnished, former Indian men's hockey team coach Terry Walsh has sent a legal notice to USA Field Hockey for breaching terms of contract while he was employed as its High Performance Technical Director and accused it of scuttling his negotiation talks with Hockey India.
Walsh shot off the notice through his lawyer Antonio R Sarabia and warned USA Field Hockey of "financial consequences", saying that its "unfounded" allegations of impropriety ruined his contractual talks with Hockey India.
"For seven years, Terry Walsh was USA Field Hockey High Performance Technical Director. The USA Field Hockey program greatly improved while Mr. Walsh held that position. In 2012, Mr. Walsh and USA Field Hockey agreed to separate. As a premier international field hockey guru, Mr. Walsh was quickly selected by Hockey India to be its chief coach," Walsh's lawyer wrote in the notice, a copy of which is with PTI.
"Mr. Walsh guided India to a series of stunning victories -- a defeat of the Olympic Gold medal German team in January, a series win against World Champions Australia in November and winning the 2014 Asian Games after a sixteen year drought. The Asian Games victory provided an automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, solidifying the great gains in the Hockey India program under Mr. Walsh," the letter read.
"During recent negotiations of his agreement with Hockey India, Mr. Walsh made suggestions to further improve the coaching of India. Shockingly, USA Field Hockey intervened in these negotiations by making unfounded accusations. Not only were the accusations wrong, they were made in breach of the USA Field Hockey contract with Mr. Walsh. Mr. Walsh has struck back at USA Field Hockey and demanded that it comply with its contract or face serious financial consequences," it continued. .
After guiding India to their first Asian Games gold in 16 years, Walsh surprised all and sundry by resigning from his post citing bureaucratic red-tapism and asked for a greater say in team decisions and support staff.
Walsh had asked for changes in his contract that allowed him greater decision-making powers and the ability to work from his home base in Australia, when his presence was not needed in India.
His employer, the Sports Authority of India had drawn up a fresh contract and the issue was on the verge of settling down, till Hockey India president Narinder Batra stalled the process by bringing up the USA financial matter.
Batra said he was informed by USA Field Hockey about the financial impropriety to the tune of USD 177,000 against Walsh during the Australian's stint with USA.
Batra asked Walsh to come clean on the issue and said he would not let a "tainted person" work in Indian hockey.