Hong Kong Hockey Association bans Khalsa's Harpreet Singh for four matches
Club player who instigated pitch invasion by fans is suspended
The Hong Kong Hockey Association has thrown the book at the culprits involved in last Sunday's pitch invasion during the Premier Division match between Punjab and Khalsa for "bringing the game into disrepute".
Khalsa's Harpreet Singh was handed a four-match ban, and four players from Singh Sabha Sports Club (SSSC) could also face suspensions for running on to the pitch and trying to remonstrate with Singh. SSSC as a club - all three of its teams across various divisions - has also been suspended for two matches.
"This is a very serious offence and we wanted to send a strong message that we will not tolerate this," said Richard Mak, chairman of the HKHA's men's section committee. "We regret that this incident took place as it has hurt the reputation of the sport and embarrassed hockey.
"Many of us were present at the match, including myself, and we in fact tried to stop them from running on to the pitch. In addition we also had video and photographic evidence and it didn't paint a good picture," Mak added. "While we recognise that Harpreet Singh's actions were provocative and triggered it all off, that was no excuse for spectators to run on to the pitch."
Singh, playing only his second game for Khalsa, made a prolonged rude gesture to a section of the large crowd after he had scored a goal which had given his team a 3-2 lead. It sparked off pandemonium with almost 100 spectators running on to the pitch resulting in play being halted for more than 10 minutes.
"Spectators running on to the pitch is a very serious offence under our by-laws and as such we have given our findings to the HKHA's disciplinary committee who will take further action," Mak said.