OHA LIFTS BAN ON SEEB
Muscat-based club was banned for one season following an assault on umpire during Super Cup
It was exactly four months ago that the infamous Super Cup hockey match between Seeb and Al Nasr took place at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
March 30 went down as a night of shame as players from Seeb, Oman's premier club, assaulted an umpire in front of a gathering that included top officials of the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) and International Hockey Federation (FIH).
The brawl forced the game to be called off two minutes from time as Seeb refused to complete the match in protest.
Following the incident, the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) banned the club for a season, and ordered suspension of varying terms to the Seeb coach and the guilty players.
However, the OHA made a U-turn last week as it lifted the season-long ban on Seeb.
Mohammed al Amri, the OHA vice-chairman, confirmed that the ban on Seeb has been lifted. Speaking to Muscat Daily on Sunday, “The OHA board met last Wednesday and has decided to lift the ban on Seeb Club. The club has a long history of promoting the game and the members felt that it would be harsh to continue with the season-long a ban on the club.
“However, the one-year suspension of the club's coach, Khalid al Raisi, and the three-year ban on the club's reserve goalkeeper, Ibrahim al Hasani, accused of the assault on the umpire has not been lifted.”
Three other Seeb players - Mohammed al Lawati, Al Mutassim al Raisi and Mohammed al Hasani - have already served their three-month bans.
Amri said, “With not many clubs playing hockey in the sultanate, the absence of Seeb from the domestic competitions for a season would have left a big void. In the larger interest of the game, the OHA has lifted the ban on Seeb.”
Yousuf al Wahaibi, the Seeb Club vice-president, said, “We welcome the lifting of the ban. The club has been in the forefront in promoting hockey in Oman. We are one of the few clubs in Oman to have an astro-turf pitch in the club and have also plans to start an hockey academy. The club has a glorious history with a record 11 His Majesty's Cup titles.”
Amri said that in all likelihood Seeb's first major outing after the lifting of the ban will be the HM's Cup which is expected to begin in October.
With the domestic league already over in April and Seeb deciding not to take part in the youth league, it will be the HM's Cup title that Seeb will look to defend after winning for a record 11th time last year.
The brawl during the Super Cup is not the first time that Oman hockey has seen such a behaviour. Domestic games are replete with instances of unruly behaviour from players and fans marring matches.
Even international events haven’t been spared, with incidents rocking Oman’s campaign at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. In Doha, Oman’s Hossam Hassan was banned for assaulting a rival player with a stick during a match against Bangladesh.
The OHA board met last Wednesday and has decided to lift the ban on Seeb Club
Mohammed al Amri, OHA vice-chairman
A file photo of the brawl that took place during the Super Cup between Seeb and Al Nasr at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on March 30