Terry Walsh has quit as India hockey coach. After his second term remained unresolved following a marathon six-hour meeting by the special Sports Authority of India committee on Monday, Hockey India president Narinder Batra had alleged financial irregularities during Walsh's tenure.
Although Walsh had left it to his employers, SAI, Hockey India was in no mood to retain the Australian coach, who helped India win the Asian Games gold recently. However, High Performance Manager Roelant Oltmans told NDTV that there was still scope for Walsh to withdraw his resignation and continue. Walsh is flying back to Perth on Wednesday.
Batra said the issues surrounding Walsh were not administrative, but financial.
"Walsh was with the US women's hockey team before coming to India. I received documents during the FIH Congress in Morocco that there are charges of financial irregularities against his name during his term there. I have already spoken to Ajitpal Singh (in SAI committee) and submitted the documents to the committee. All I am asking for is clarification from Walsh on the issue."
"It is a serious concern and if it is true, then it is not possible for me to utilise his services even if the government agrees. The SAI is willing to transfer financial powers to him and Oltmans on a yearly basis but if something goes wrong, I will be held responsible. Other than that, I have no issues with him or his performance as a coach," Batra told the Hindu.
Walsh was banking on the SAI to retain him. Besides asking for more decision-making powers, Walsh wanted more time with family in Australia. Reportedly, Walsh has asked for 120 days of paid leave, during which, he would keep in touch with the team through video conferencing.
"To be honest, the support from the government and the SAI has been really productive. I think there are some steps we have to take if we are going to solve the interaction with Hockey India, and that's really where it is at the moment," Walsh had said.
The special SAI-appointed committee was led by the World Cup-winning Ajitpal Singh and also included Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal and SAI executive director (TEAMS) Sudhir Setia. Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, Oltmans and Walsh were also present at the meeting.
On October 19, Walsh had quit as India hockey coach after claiming that bureaucracy hurdles had prevented him from working independently, only to reverse his decision and return as coach two days later. Batra said that while those issues had already been resolved before the Indian team left for its Australia tour, there were some more matters that needed negotiation.
While admitting the problems himself, Walsh said: "Certain things were brought up right at the tail and we just need to move forward on them. The reality is that time is running out, the door is closing and, from my perspective, I resigned on October 19."