Walsh resigns as hockey head coach over “pay dispute”
New Delhi: In a sudden jolt to Indian hockey, chief coach Terry Walsh today resigned from his post because of a “pay dispute” with the Sports Authority of India, barely three weeks after guiding the team to a historic gold medal in the Asian Games in Incheon.
The 60-year-old Australian, himself a noted Olympian, submitted his resignation in dramatic fashion, saying that he was finding it difficult to adjust to the decision making style of the sporting bureaucracy in the country. His contract was to run till the 2016 Rio Olympics.
SAI Director General Jiji Thomson said Walsh’s resignation has been accepted and he will be relieved of his duties. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, however, said he was looking for a resolution of the issue.
“I hereby tender my resignation as the Chief Coach, Indian Men’s Hockey Team, effective as per the details of my contract or as agreed to by all concerned parties,” Walsh said in a letter sent to Thomson on October 19. The letter was released to the media today.
“I am finding considerable difficulty adjusting to the decision making style of the sporting bureaucracy in India which I believe, in the long term, is not in the best interests of Indian Hockey or it’s players,” said Walsh under whom India also won a silver in Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
It is, however, learnt that Walsh and some other support staff were having some issues with the government over TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) on their salaries.
Thomson, however, denied that there were any issues over TDS and said the problem was created by HI president Narinder Batra. He dismissed the issue as “canards” on the part of Batra.
“I was surprised that Walsh has decided to resign. He had never made any complaints to us. So this sudden decision is astonishing,” Thomson said.
The SAI DG acknowledged that Walsh was a “wonderful coach” who was selected after a rigorous selection process.
“He was a very good coach and he guided the team to gold in the Asian Games and silver in CWG. We were very happy with his performance,” he said.