New Delhi: Terry Walsh has written a letter addressed to sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal citing his willingness to return as head coach of Indian men’s hockey team.
The biggest hurdle that stands in the way of Walsh’s return is the demand made by the President of Hockey India – Narinder Batra – that the Australian must come clean on allegations of financial impropriety during his tenure with USA hockey federation.
However, the Sports Ministry, HI and SAI need to be in agreement over the issue, which remains the only bone of contention between the parties.
“I remain willing to return to India immediately to resume positive discussions with SAI (Sports Authority of India) and at the same time publicly refute the detestable misinformation being introduced into the public arena,” Walsh wrote.
Earlier, Walsh’s demands were agreed to in principle by SAI before he flew back to Australia.
“I will keep faith with SAI and undertake to accede to their request to continue to coach the national team in the medium-term subject to the resolution of several issues with Hockey India. Hopefully truth and common sense will prevail in the interests of the game,” Walsh wrote.
Walsh was to receive a new set of proposals and decide by the weekend to resolve the impasse. However, nothing was officially communicated to Walsh by SAI, HI or sports ministry officials since November 20.
“My earnest wish is that Hockey India joins with us to enable the national team to begin its preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games free of controversy and irrelevant other issues,” Walsh wrote.
On Monday, Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Jiji Thomson said that the authority is ready to re-appoint chief coach Terry Walsh but only after receiving the consent of approval from Hockey India (HI).
“We had discussed several issues with Terry Walsh and all the stakeholders regarding his (coach) proposals. HI raised some objection about some financial impropriety against Walsh and we need to get more details on it. HI won’t accept Walsh without a clearance on this issue and we are also waiting for it to be cleared,” Thomson said.
“The coach asked for two days to reply and he is yet to get back to us. There is no denying that he is a fantastic coach but it’s not between us and Walsh. HI is a key part of the decision. If HI is not happy with him, it is difficult for us to engage him as the coach of the country. The ball is in HI’s court. If HI says that it is comfortable with the coach, we are ready (to re-appoint Walsh).”
Thomson made it clear that the SAI has rejected Walsh’s idea of providing online coaching from his home in Australia while taking a paid leave of 120 days.
“We were not comfortable with some of his demands. Online coaching system is not acceptable to us. Later, he came down on his demand of 120 days paid leave.”