Charlesworth appointed technical advisor

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{image-hockey thotta padam_21032008.jpg}New Delhi, March 21: The uncertainty over Ric Charlesworth's future finally came to an end on Thursday with the Australian legend being appointed the Technical Advisor and expert coach of Indian hockey which will allow him to work with the senior men's team.

After four days of brainstorming meetings, the suspense over the Aussie great's association with India ended as the hockey fraternity in the country was engaged in speculation as to where the sport was heading. The day started with the IHF top bosses holding several rounds of meetings with the Sports Ministry officials which resulted in the finalisation of Charlesworth's contract and nature of his operation.
According to a reliable source in the Sports Ministry, Charlesworth's contract had been finalised and now he would be given a role in the senior men's team.

"The contract has been finalised. He (Charlesworth) will work as the Technical Advisor and expert coach with teams at all levels," the source said.

Earlier in the week, an angry Charlesworth had declined to work in India after knowing that the Ministry and IHF unilaterally had decided to keep him away from the senior men's team and give him the charge of the junior sides.

"No, I have not come here to do that," he had said. After this episode, pressure mounted on the IHF from various quarters, including the International Hockey Federation (FIH), former Olympians and office-bearers, and fresh discussions were held to accommodate the Australian with a bigger role.

The understanding to allow Charlesworth work with the senior team would now force IHF to find a middle path where both the Australian and coach Joaquim Carvalho can work together.

At Wednesday's meeting, a majority of office-bearers wanted Carvalho sacked and Charlesworth as his replacement. However, IHF chief KPS Gill was not in a mood to show Carvalho the exit door because of India's four-nation assignment in Australia next month.

"A majority wanted that Charlesworth be given charge of the team. But the members were not able to understand why Gill was defending the coach. He was adamantly defending Carvalho," a source said on condition of anonymity.

Carvalho blamed India's defeat in Chile on "poor umpiring," but the office-bearers rejected it as a "silly excuse."

"Instead of admitting that we played badly and lost, he was giving such strange excuses," the source said.

The issue of why players like Arjun Halappa and Sandeep Singh were not included in the Indian team for the Chile assignment also came up for discussion. Besides, objections were raised as to why the selection committee was kept out of the loop while picking the final squad.

Interestingly, the source added that "the IHF chief had become immune to the barrage of criticism he was facing from the media and is not bothered about them."

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