Hockey India (HI) has lifted the nine-month ban on Gurbaj Singh with immediate effect in the wake of Punjab and Haryana High Court's order that termed the suspension of the senior player "illegal".
The decision on Gurbaj was taken on Saturday at HI's athletes disputes and grievance addressal committee, headed by former great Harbinder Singh, days after the High Court said the charges levelled against the player were not enough to levy the severe ban.
HI had alleged that Gurbaj created disharmony and groupism in the team and suspended him following the Hockey World League semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium.
Finding the ban unfair, the midfielder sought legal action.
Sticking to its earlier stance, the committee stated on Saturday that it was letting off Gurbaj with a warning.
"We issue Gurbaj Singh a warning that should he misconduct himself in the future, this committee shall take serious note of the same. Should any complaint be received regarding his conduct in the future, it is clarified, that his past record, including that at the London Olympics, will be taken into consideration. We sincerely hope that the members of the national team do not repeat the mistake of indiscipline and creating groupism within the team.
"In light of the above, we decide that it would be appropriate to reduce the period of ban to the period already undergone. Gurbaj Singh, with immediate effect, would be eligible to participate in all Hockey India, AHF and FIH sanctioned tournaments," said the committee.
The Harbinder-headed panel comprised former players R P Singh, A B Subbaiah, Jasjeet Kaur and HI CEO Elena Norman.
Image: India's hockey player Gurbaj Singh in action
Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images