IMPHAL: A hockey player who represented Manipur in the under-17 category at the sub-junior nationals in Jind, Haryana last week, has been suspended yesterday for alleged 'fraudulent age.'
According to his Aadhar card records filed as part of a complaint to Hockey India by Maharashtra, which lost 2-4 to Manipur in the group stage on March 18, the player was 20 years old at the time of the Under-17 tournament (birthdate: February 2, 2001).
Manipur moved to the semifinals, where they will face Haryana today. Maharashtra has been disqualified from the competition.
Maharashtra also demanded that all of the player's goals be revoked.
In a protest letter, the team said, "The boy scored all four goals against our team, which we lost 4-2. We would have had the momentum to win if he hadn't been on the field.”
However, despite the player's suspension, Hockey India did not revoke the goals he scored, ensuring Manipur's victory.
Hockey India’s technical delegate Sonia Bhatla, in a letter, said they have suspended the player after scrutinising his past record.
“According to the communication received from Hockey India, the player has violated the Hockey India Code of Conduct after reviewing the records on the Hockey India member unit portal and comparing them to previous records,” Bhatla wrote.
As a result, the Manipur Hockey team player is permanently disqualified from competing in the Hockey India Sub Junior Men's National Championship 2021.
A coach whose team competed in the sub-junior nationals, on the other hand, said the Manipur players' case demonstrated that the system is not foolproof.
Even though he competed in a tournament for under-21 players in 2019, the player's documents were uploaded and accepted for sub-junior nations. It demonstrates that much more needs to be done to tackle the problem of age fraud, according to the coach.
The Manipur player who was suspended played four matches in the 2019 Junior National Championship and did not score a single goal, according to data on Hockey India's website.
Before being suspended, he scored eight goals in the sub-junior nationals, four against Maharashtra and four against Gujarat.
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