Australia hockey team unhappy with early schedule for Olympics


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The Independent Online

Australia men's coach Ric Charlesworth has criticised the Olympic match schedule after claiming it disadvantages his side and benefits their major rivals.

The world number ones will play three of their five group matches at 8.30am, while Germany, the second-best team in the world, have no early starts.

"I don't expect special treatment, I expect not to be disadvantaged, out of five matches you may expect one 5am start for our athletes not three," said Charlesworth, who at this month's test event earlier this month criticised the playing surface at the Riverbank Arena.

"It interferes with momentum as major finals won't be played at that hour and it interrupts our routine over two weeks.

"Early games should be fairly distributed between all teams."

Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson also expressed his disappointment after yesterday's draw announcement.

"When you look at the schedule it is patently unfair in our opinion," he said.

"None of the teams want to play in this early morning time slot.

"The world ranked number two, three and four teams do not have any matches scheduled for this time, the fifth and sixth ranked teams feature once.

"Out of the 12 teams in the competition, only 6 teams play at this time and Australia features three times.

"We are not looking for an unfair advantage, we just want to compete on a level playing field."