Hockey: Blunck banned from British encounter: Germans punished for manhandling referee

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GREAT BRITAIN'S hopes of beating Germany in their second game of the 16th PIA Champions Trophy here today improved when the Germans 25-year-old captain and central midfield player, Christian Blunck, was banned for one match.

Blunck has been suspended after being held responsible for the behaviour of his team in their first game against Australia, which Germany won 2-1.

Following a disputed Australian equaliser, the Pakistan umpire, Rashid Ali Khan, was manhandled and a video of the incident clearly shows Blunck and at least four other Germans pushing and pulling at the umpire.

The Germans are fortunate not to have received more punishment from the International Hockey Federation who are determined to stamp out this type of behaviour. Following a similar incident in Moscow in 1987, the Germans had three players suspended for the semi-final of the European Cup.

Britain's Jason Laslett, who broke his nose in the opening game against Pakistan, trained yesterday and will play. Rob Thompson and Bobby Crutchley are both carrying light injuries but the coach, David Whitaker, expects them to be available. However, Chris Mayer is extremely doubtful with a knee injury.

There was further controversy yesterday when Spain's equaliser against Pakistan by Jose Ejarque appeared to go into the roof of the net only to land on the top of the goal. After careful examination of the net the Trinidad umpire, Roger St Rose, awarded a goal to the dismay of the 20,000 crowd. Pakistan recovered through goals from Tahir Zaman and Muhammad Shahbaz to win 3-1 and lead the tournament.

In the day's second game, Australia, the champions, conceding a second-minute goal to the Netherlands but fought back to win 3-2. Jay Stacy scored twice.

16th PIA CHAMPIONS TROPHY (Lahore) Second day: Australia 3 Netherlands 2; Pakistan 3 Spain 1.