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This week's hockey fact on The Hockey Museum (THM) website has generated a lot of interest world wide.

We are encouraged by the number of views, particularly the high numbers from Germany, and we feel the story behind the fact deserves more detail.

We have chosen two versions of the report from our archives: one from our THM colleague Patrick Rowley who reported the incident the following day and a translation from a German magazine.

Dil Bahra

 

India Awarded Match As Japan Stage Walk-Out
Patrick Rowley

"Mexico City, 21 October. India won their sixth match of the Olympic hockey tournament against Japan by five goals to nil without actually scoring a goal.

"They were awarded the match by the technical delegates of the International Hockey Federation after the most amazing incident in the history of Olympic hockey. The Japanese team walked off the field before the final whistle and refused to return.
"With 15 minutes to go, the British umpire Archie Young awarded a penalty stroke against the Japanese. Inamur Rehman, who had replaced Inder at inside left, was breaking into the circle when there was a clash of sticks as he went to pass the Japanese back, Katsuhiro Yuzaki.

"The umpire decided that Inam had been fouled and presumed that a certain goal had been prevented. He, therefore, awarded the most drastic penalty.

"The Japanese did not first realize what decision the umpires had made. They thought the whistle had gone for a foul against their player. When the truth quickly became apparent, they surrounded the umpire, protesting and indicated the nature of the foul committed not by their player but by Inam.

"The umpire stuck firmly to his decision indicating a second time that he had awarded the penalty-stroke.

"With that several of the Japanese players threw down their sticks in disgust. In great anger, their captain led the team off the field.

"The jury of appeal chairman, Mr Stewart McIldowie of South Africa ordered the Japanese manager to get his team on the field within 30 seconds but because they were so upset there was never any chance that they would return. When the whistle went for the game to resume, the Indians were still on the field watching incredulously. At least three minutes had elapsed. The Japanese did not reappear and the umpire blew his whistle again indicating that the game was over.

"In my opinion the umpire made a bad mistake. When going through, Inam put his stick between that of Yuzaki and the ball thus committing a foul. When Yuzaki's stick hit that of Inam he was doing no more than showing the foul.

"The umpire made another mistake. If Yuzaki had fouled, it did not warrant a penalty-stroke. It should have been a penalty-corner for there was no reason to assume that Inam would have scored.

"I am sure any other umpire in this tournament would have awarded a penalty-corner for such an offence.

"The Japanese, it was revealed afterwards, were strongly favoured to win the fair-play trophy which was being awarded at this Olympics tournament for the first time. The reason they were so incensed is that they had played their hearts out in preventing India from scoring. Their goalkeeper, Matsumoto, had performed miracles but suddenly all their efforts were thrown away by what they considered to be a ridiculous decision by the umpire.

"But don't let me sound as if I am condoning the Japanese action. Far from it. Any umpire can make a mistake. He is only human. But to walk off the field is the height of unsportsmanship and Japan are very lucky to be allowed to play in this tournament."

 

The Scandal Of Mexico City
(translated from a German hockey report)

"It happened on Sunday 20 October 1968 at 1.05pm local time on pitch 2 of the Olympic Hockey Stadium, Magdalena Mixhuca.

"55 minutes and 30 seconds into an extremely important game for the seven times Olympic champions, India v. Japan, the score was still 0-0 and, in view of the brave defensive performance of the speedy Japanese, the overall opinion in the stands was that the brave, little men around the cat-like goalkeeper Norihiko Matiumoto could have kept their goal intact for the remaining quarter of an hour against the desperate Indians.

"The Umpire, Mr Archibald Young, had blown his whistle and the Scottish referee made one of his many inexplicable - to players and spectators - decisions, pointing to the penalty spot to the horror of all.

"In the stands the same amazement was writ large on the faces of those at the jury table and in the seats reserved for the FIH officials.

"India's right winger Balbir Singh, the second of that name in the team, stepped up to take the penalty which could mean relief to his over nervous troops. But Balbir Singh never got to take the penalty stroke.

"The Japanese who at first had not realised what was happening, then surrounded the umpire in justifiable protest and when this did not bear fruit did the worst they could have done in such a situation. Captain Tsureya Yuzaki, the elder brother of the player who had committed the foul, threw his stick onto the grass in a rage and left the pitch in the direction of the players' bench. The rest of his eleven followed him immediately."

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