Violent attack on umpire results in lengthy suspensions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 August, 1998, 12:00am

Three players from Second Division side Bullets have been handed suspensions ranging from two to five years following the assault in May on a leading umpire.

Rajwinder Singh received the heaviest penalty for the alleged assault on Jock Collaco, the chairman of the Hong Kong Hockey Association (HKHA) men's section, after a game between First Division champions Shaheen and a visiting side from Punjab, India, ended in a 5-5 draw.

He was found guilty by the HKHA's disciplinary committee of bringing the game into disrepute and has been suspended from hockey as a player, official or administrator for five years until May 12, 2003.

Singh was part of an angry mob who allegedly attacked Collaco outside King's Park after Shaheen levelled the match with a controversial goal.

Two other players, Tara Singh and Avtar Singh, were given two-year suspensions after being cleared of assault, while no action was taken against two other Bullet players, Nirdeep Singh and Jasbir Singh, because of a lack of evidence. No charges were brought against the Bullets club.

Collaco was pleased the case was behind him now, although he reiterated that he could not tolerate attacks on umpires.

HKHA secretary general Sarinder Dillon said: 'This is a strong signal. The HKHA has never tolerated violence, both on and off the pitch. What we had here was an assault on an umpire who gave up his own time to officiate at the game.' 'All registered players come under the auspices of the association on and off the field. If there is any violence relating to a hockey game . . . [those involved] will be disciplined,' he said.

The case took more than 10 weeks to put together as the HKHA interviewed scores of witnesses. The punishment was handed down recently. Collaco was assaulted after Bullets supporters became incensed when the veteran umpire awarded the goal that gave Shaheen the draw.

Shaheen are considered the best team in the SAR after winning the First Division title as well as the FILA Cup last season.

Collaco was hit by a beer bottle and kicked on the backside.

Serious injury was averted thanks to some friends who intervened.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Asian Games squad will embark on their first tour outside the territory when they travel to Guangzhou for two friendlies against the Guangdong squad this week.

Former Australian squad member Tony Gillon has taken charge of the Hong Kong squad.

He will remain with the squad until the completion of the Asian Games competition in December.

Gillon joined the Hong Kong squad two weeks ago and comes to the SAR with a wealth of experience, including a stint as coaching director of the Victoria Hockey Association.

He was also coach of one of the top club sides in Australia, the Melbourne Redbacks.