Late night out, early flight back
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The Chhattisgarh hockey team boarded the Raipur-bound train rather prematurely after they were thrown out of the Senior Men's National Hockey Championships on what the organisers described as disciplinary grounds.
Hockey Karnataka secretary AB Subbaiah said that a few of the Chhattisgarh players got into a scuffle with auto drivers late on Monday night in front of St John's Medical College, where the teams are staying.
"Four Chhattisgarh players came back to their accommodation at around 12:30 am. Now the rules are very clear on that, players ought to be back to their rooms by 11 pm. Not only did they come late, they also beat up the auto driver," said Subbaiah.
The situation soon spiralled into a standoff when other auto drivers also joined in. "It became volatile after 70-80 auto drivers came in front of St. John's gate. A constable was also manhandled. The authorities called the cops and the offending players were taken to the police station," he informed.
However, Subbaiah said no FIR was filed after the two parties reportedly relented and didn't press any charges. "But we wanted to create an example. Moreover, it wasn't the first breach of the tournament rules by Chhattisgarh. They got a 25-member team here when a maximum of 20 members are permitted. But this was serious. We told them the next day that they were being expelled."
When contacted, the Chhattisgarh manager Dennis Christy refused to comment. Incidentally, the Chhattisgarh team also played a match after that — against Air India the very next morning. They were walloped 16-0. Why were they allowed to play if they had violated the code of conduct?
"We were looking into the incident and making our report. We conveyed the decision to the Chhattisgarh association and they accepted it. We have also informed Hockey India about the decision, who have approved of it and have promised to take a further action against the offenders after investigating the incident.