India’s Dutch hockey coach Paul van Ass, who recently led the team to a third-place finish in the Hockey World League semis, alleged that he has been fired just five months into the job.
Media reports say Van Ass had failed to be present at the national camp which started on July 18 in Himachal Pradesh, leading many to believe that his future at the helm was in doubt.
Unconfirmed reports also suggest Van Ass could have been fired because of a public spat with Hockey India chief Narinder Batra. Van Ass had also told a news channel that he was not supposed to lead the practice in Himachal Pradesh in the first place.
However, Batra himself later told a news channel that Van Ass has not been sacked and that he should have reported for duty in Himachal Pradesh.
After India’s recent come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Malaysia in the HWL semis, Batra had given the side some tough talk while the players were cooling down, telling them that their performance in the match was not good enough. Van Ass had reportedly taken offence to Batra’s mediation and had asked him to leave the field. Batra eventually left the field ‘red-faced’ but only before making sure he told the Dutch coach that ‘his behaviour was not acceptable.’
Later, Batra denied any such incident had taken place on that day.
Van Ass is a renowned hockey coach and in his previous assignments, he has led the Netherlands side to a silver at the 2012 Olympics.