Senior India hockey player Gurbaj Singh was today suspended for nine months for indulging in groupism and creating disharmony within the team, a decision which might shatter the experienced midfielder's dream of playing in next year's Rio Olympics.
The decision to suspend Gurbaj was taken after a meeting of Hockey India's disciplinary committee headed by Harbinder Singh today with the midfielder and former India coach Jude Felix, who levelled the charges against him in his report after last month's Hockey World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium.
Besides Harbinder, the HI disciplinary panel also include former players R P Singh, A B Subbaiah and Jasjeet Handa.
Gurbaj, however, has the option to lodge an appeal with HI's appellate tribunal within a month's time.
Talking to PTI, Harbinder later said it was time to teach a lesson to Gurbaj, dubbed as problem child in Indian hockey, for his repeated misdemeanours.
"We have suspended Gurbaj for nine months starting today, which means he will be unable to play for India till May 9, 2016. The step was taken after Jude Felix in his (HWL) report had brought up disciplinary issues against Gurbaj," Harbinder said.
"Both Gurbaj and Jude were present in the meeting and the committee gave Gurbaj a chance to tell his version.
"But obviously, he (Gurbaj) can appeal against the suspension," he said.
Felix in his report, also alleged that Gurbaj did not co-operate with the coaches and was not a good ambassador for the national team.
A talented midfielder and considered as a workhorse, Gurbaj has been in news for wrong reasons in the past as well.
He was suspended for a brief period after the London Olympics following similar accusations from the then chief coach Michael Nobbs and his support staff.