India have again said no to hockey in Malaysia because Hockey India (HI) does not wish the Indian team to play Pakistan, mainly due to the bad behaviour of Pakistani players at the 2014 Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
Thus, for the second successive year, India won’t take part in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia, citing Pakistan’s presence in the October 22-29 invitational tournament. India had won the tournament in 2013 and 2014, and finished runners-up in 2015.
HI stuck to its stand of not playing Pakistan in a non-International Hockey Federation (FIH) event until Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) tendered an unconditional apology for its players’ disgraceful behaviour in Bhubaneswar in 2014.
Since Sultan of Johor Cup, an Under-21 competition, is an invitational tournament and is not organised under the aegis of FIH or any continental body, HI was under no obligation to send its team to the week-long event.
“By not fielding the Indian team at the Sultan of Johor Cup, we have stood our ground to not take part in any series against Pakistan until they submit an unconditional apology for what happened in 2014,” HI spokesperson RP Singh said.
HI says it and the players have moved on from the controversial incident during the Champions Trophy, when Pakistani players had made obscene gestures towards the crowd after their 4-3 semifinal win over India. HI says it was the recent allegations by PHF ahead of the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow that resulted in India pulling out of the Sultan of Johor Cup.