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Players' being warned is serious issue: Oltmans

Source: PTI
December 02, 2011 14:23 IST

Players being warned by the FIH to stay from the World Series Hockey is a "serious issue", says the event's Delhi franchise coach Roelant Oltmans but he is hopeful that the deadlock will be sorted out soon.

"The FIH warning is a serious issue at the moment. Not only for the Indians but for the overseas players as well. Talks with the authorities are on and I hope that everything will be sorted out. We will have the best players and this league will be a huge success," 57-year-old Dutch, who is coaching the Delhi Wizards, said from Ajax.

The $2 million league does not have the support of the FIH, which has warned that any player taking part in it will be banned from international tournaments like the Olympics.

Hockey India has also threatened to punish national players who take part in the unsanctioned tournament, which is being jointly promoted by Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sports.

Oltmans admitted that some of the members of his Delhi Wizards team are "I know that senior players like Shakeel Abbasi (Pakistan), Lucas Villa (Argentina) and Rajpal Singh are also facing the threat of suspension. I although hope that all of them will be a part of this big league," said Oltmans, the coach of Sydney World Cup champion Dutch women's team and 1996 Atlanta Olympic and 1998 Utrech World Cup winner men's team.

Ridiculing the criticism that the league could hamper India's preparation for the Olympic qualifiers, he said the Indian team will benefit the most from the league.

World Series Hockey will be played from December 17 to January 22 while the Olympic qualifiers are scheduled to be held in Delhi from February 15 to 26.

"WSH is a very good concept where players will get to play at highest level in such a short duration. I don't think it will hamper India's preparation for the Olympic qualifiers, I think the Indians will benefit the most. Players will be match-fit and fresh. It is like a blessing for Indian Hockey and a concrete step to bring back the glorious past," said the veteran.

Oltmans, once a top contender for the Indian team's chief coach, also feels this league is an opportunity for him to work with talented Indian players.

"India has huge potential as far as hockey is concerned. Being a national coach would have been a different experience but this league will provide me an opportunity to work with Indian players who are immensely talented.

"It is a tough tournament and challenging as well. I hope that the Delhi team will do well," said Oltmans who will come back to India on December 12 to train the Delhi team.

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