Former India coach Joseph Brasa on Wednesday said that World Series Hockey would boost the game in the country and nobody should punish players and coaches for taking part in the tournament starting December 17.
Hockey India had threatened to punish national players who take part in the unsanctioned tournament, which is being jointly promoted by Indian Hockey Federation and Nimbus Sports.
Brasa, however, said that no national federation or the world body (FIH) can ban a player or a coach for participating in the USD 2 million league.
"I have the freedom to take part and I do not think any law supports any association or international federation to ban any player or coach because of their participation here. After all, this is not part and parcel of any qualification for Asian or Champions Trophy and the players do not represent their nation in this tournament. It is just a franchise competition," Brasa said.
"Therefore nobody should interfere in players, coaches and officials decision to figure in the series. Players, coaches and officials have freedom to participate in it without being punished for their action," he said.
"This World Series Hockey is a real boost to hockey in India as much as all over the world. I am sure the players will adapt to the conditions, system and all other aspects quickly," added the Spaniard, who coached India for nearly two years till last year's Guangzhou Asian Games.
Brasa said the tournament will boost the confidence of youngsters as they will get the chance to rub shoulders with veteran stars and at the same time earn good money.
"One of best things of WSH is the experience the India Under-21 players would gain. Each franchise need to pick four U-21 players in their squad and it will be a boost for them to learn a lot from most experienced international stars, including Indian players. This tournament is a God given event," he said.
"It is not a qualification event but a highly competitive one like European League and in fact Indian Premier League in cricket. WSH is really good for the growth of players and the game. Mainly, the players will get paid well by their franchise," Brasa added.
Recalling his association with Indian hockey as coach, Brasa said he had good memories of interactions he had with the players.
"I think that for me there were two contrary things. One was the players and the other officials. I had a very nice time with the players, it was one of the best periods of my career."
"The players in India have great experience and have given their life for hockey. I am very happy with the time I had spent with the Indian players."