- A national hockey player who got leave from training in order to repair his car but was caught "red handed" at a cyber-gaming centre at the material time.
- The disciplining of 2 national players who were caught returning wee hours of the morning apparently intoxicated.
Some believe that the players should not be severely punished as:
- They are young, not withstanding their years of experience in international hockey.
- The centralised training environment forces them into such activities as a form of releasing their tension.
- They are much needed in the national team for the World Cup qualifiers.
- The nature of incident does not warrant such punishment as it relates to play station activities and returning after curfew hours.
It is strange how the "news splash" with the main media and the alternative media provided a sensational account of the events and yet following it, they want MHF to be lenient in administering the punishment. The rationale for it is based on the reasons outlined above. It would seem that they want to influence the fate of the players and maybe also of the national team. They believe without these 3 players Malaysia shall fore go any chances of qualifying for the World Cup. This is obviously a persuasive "school of thought".
The 2nd "school of thought" is that the discipline issues are fundamental aspect of performance on and off the field. Players have to be aware of this from the onset and it is part of their training to handle such matters. Therefore once MHF unnecessarily "bents" its standards, it has placed itself in a comprising position. This would bound to "haunt" MHF in the future because of the precedent it has set.
In fact the issue at hand is about a player who had lied to the coach and indulged in an activity which has similarities to the past issue relating to the allegations on "match fixing". On the 2nd incident there has been a history of 1 or 2 senior players turning up for training with stench of alcohol and therefore when these 2 players were caught wee hours of the morning apparently intoxicated, one cannot expect NSC & MHF to close their eyes. All these deserve its level of attention irrespective how good or experience the players. 'Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done", a known maxim in law.
Therefore the level of punishment must relate to:
- Severity of the incident.
- Was the player a 1st time offender or a repeated offender?
- Has the player received warnings or cautions in the past?
- Does the player's actions influence others or is he disruptive to the team?
- Does the player's actions affect the image of Malaysian hockey?
- Is there any mitigating circumstances that must be taken into account before a decision is made?
The answers to the above questions would help to pinpoint the level of punishment that should be handed out to the players. Essentially, this is where the crux of the matters rest.
With all these taking place, it should be noted that the level of absenteeism for training has been significant and now there are rumours that both NSC & MHF have devised a system of deduction that would affect the players monthly remuneration. If that is so, we have to commend both NSC & MHF for taking such pro-active steps to create a system which hurts the players where it matters i e their salary.
Whatever, it is sad that the players have to face such harsh decisions. After all it is based on their own actions but not that of MHF or others. MHF has to do what is right and not what is popular. The integrity of the sport and its future has to be preserved. Any short term gain cannot replace the potential long term repercussions that maybe there if such indiscipline issues are left unattended. The simple rule is "everyone has to account and take responsibility for their actions". That is the only way if Malaysian hockey is to move forward.