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Why Charlesworth quit Indian hockey

July 11, 2008 19:36 IST

Failure to get his salary arrears cleared and inadequate working conditions are the main reasons for India's hockey consultant Ric Charlesworth quitting abruptly.

The Australian legend was extremely critical of the hockey establishment and its functioning while threatening to take legal action against his Indian employers if his dues are not settled.

In a strongly worded resignation letter, Charlesworth said he was convinced he could not effectively operate as an advisor, since his recommendations did not carry any weight.

His dramatic resignation came to light only on Thursday, though he put in his papers on June 25, after serving around seven tumultuous months.

The former Australia captain also cited "entirely unrealistic" expectations and failure to give him proper support staff as other reasons for packing his bags and leaving.

"I have been working in India since 10th of December 2007, although SAI unfortunately has failed to recognise in contractual format my earlier tenure. On March 20th under duress I finally signed a contract that was far from adequate and from what was agreed earlier," Charlesworth said in his resignation letter.

"I did so in order to continue my work in the hope that things will improve in my working conditions and that I would have the opportunity to do what the original concept entailed.

"I also did so with the express promise of the IHF president and secretary general as well as executive director team sports that all outstanding invoices and salary arrears would be paid expeditiously. This has not proved to be the case. The history of the contract negotiations and the fact of so many unfulfilled promises is the great regret of my time in India," he added.

Charlesworth was deputed to India by the FIH, the game's world governing body, as part of a project to revive Indian hockey. However, the previous IHF regime, under KPS Gill, did not allow him to coach the senior team and generally did not involve him in its activities.

But after India failed to qualify for the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], the IHF, under pressure from the FIH, formally entered into a contract with him in March.

"The expectations of my position have been entirely unrealistic. Given no support staff, impossible travelling and living arrangements, no tools of trade and freedom to act, the whole thing has proved very difficult if not impossible. All these things had been promised.

"I am not crying foul as I knew India would be difficult... I just did not believe it could be this difficult. I still have no computer, no employer provided phone, no efficient capacity to plan and book travel and I remain unpaid for many months with considerable personal expenditure un-remitted.

"If India believes it can resurrect its fortunes without matching the practices of successful nations it would be a remarkable feat."

He said he would not shy away from dragging his Indian employers to court if his dues are not paid.

"I reserve my right to claim the outstanding amounts that are due to me by SAI and the IHF for my work in India over the past seven months. This will likely entail recourse to legal actions in the courts in order to be compensated," he said.

He felt India needs to accelerate its pace of development to catch up with other top nations, especially in view of the ground realities at home.

"As I have pointed out many times I do not believe India can afford to change slowly or that it can without a paradigm shift, generate the resources and energy to reorganise the game at the highest level," he said.

"The FIH supported the project sharing the same view but sometimes the reality in the ground is too overwhelming and without any glimmer of change on the horizon I make this decision. I believe that I am left with no other choice as things stand."

© Copyright 2008 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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