Indian's striker Shivendra Singh has been handed a three-match suspension for “deliberately raising the stick” and causing “physical assault without serious injury” to Pakistani player Fareed Ahmed during Sunday's league match in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup tournament.
The Indian team has appealed against the decision. A jury will review the incident and a verdict is expected on Tuesday. If the decision is upheld, Shivendra will miss the matches against Australia (Tuesday), Spain (Thursday) and England (Saturday).
“Shivendra stated that he had no intention to hit Fareed and just wanted to run faster and for that held the stick in both the hands,” Tournament Director Read said on Monday.
“I reject this argument. There was no need for the stick to be lifted. I find the stick was deliberately raised and that the behaviour of Shivendra was reckless as to the safety of Fareed,” Mr. Read said while mentioning that it was a Level-2 offence.
Mr. Read justified his action, saying, “the ball was on the ground and the players were off the ball, plus or minus five feet. There was absolutely no reason to raise the stick.”
The Tournament Director said it invited more than the minimum penalty of a two-match suspension. “A four-match suspension is appropriate, but given the history of the player (he has not got a single card in 110 games), I consider that a three-match suspension is appropriate,” the Aussie said.
Asked why the on-field umpires did not take any action against Shivendra, Mr. Read said it was not noticed on the ground. “In my view, the umpires were on the ball and were not in a position to watch what happened off the ball,” he said.
Mr. Read said he interacted with the Indian and Pakistani players before reaching the decision.
Meanwhile, the Tournament Director has suspended Pakistan's Irfan Muhammad for one match for wearing a glove, which was against FIH regulations, during Sunday's match.