Striker Shivendra Singh's suspension was on Tuesday reduced from three to two matches by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Appeal Jury.

This means Shivendra will miss India's pool match against Spain on Thursday apart from the one against Australia.

Tournament Director (TD) Ken Read had slapped a three-match suspension on Shivendra for “deliberately raising the stick and physically abusing Pakistan player Fareed Ahmed on Sunday.” Shivendra had appealed against the decision.

The Appeal Jury, consisting of FIH President Antonio von Ondarza (Venezuela) and members Hari Kant (Canada) and Johan Wakkie (Netherlands), reviewed the decision of the TD and the video evidence considered by him. It also took into account the case presented during the hearing in the written and oral submissions and video provided on behalf of Shivendra.

Reckless action

The Jury concluded that Shivendra's action was reckless (a Level-2 offence) but not deliberate.

“It must be understood that such reckless action is not acceptable in international competition. The Jury considers that it constitutes physical assault. In accordance with the FIH Code of Conduct guidelines, the offence was reckless but not deliberate and therefore requires the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension,” the Jury said.

Shivendra, Indian team manager Harendra Singh and assistant coach Ramandeep Singh Grewal were present during the hearing process.

Normal practice

Arjen Meijer of the FIH Communications Department said it was a normal practice that the TD might initiate action even if the umpires did not report any on-field breach of the FIH Code of Conduct.

According to the 2009 FIH guidelines for the TD, reports of alleged breaches of the FIH Code of Conduct shall be made to the TD or “initiated by the TD in his own right.”

It further says, “The TD is to determine if an offence has been committed and the level of the offence. A report can be received by the TD from any person but if received later than 24 hours after the occurrence of the conduct said to constitute the alleged offence, the TD must exercise his discretion to accept such a report.”

Meijer backed Read for his efficiency. “We choose the best officials, the best umpires and the best TD. The TD has conducted even the Olympics,” he said.

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