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Hockey left in limbo by umpire crisis

 

By Graham Hamilton

The much heralded start of Hockey Ireland's flagship EY League programme has had to be postponed before a ball has been hit in earnest - because there are insufficient umpires to take charge of the games.

Chief executive officer Jerome Pels called off the all-Ireland programme as his Board and the Irish Hockey Umpires Association were unable to resolve issues, particularly over what is perceived as derisory expenses for umpires.

The contingency plan, to get clubs to use their own umpires, failed to work out, especially as most are IHUA members and therefore would decline to cross the imaginary picket line.

Both parties are due to meet this weekend but Hockey Ireland felt they had no option but to call off all games so clubs would not be hit by costs.

The Kirk Cup for men and the Ulster Shield for women will go ahead as planned.

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