KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has called on the sport’s apex body to take note of India’s refusal to play them at the international level, saying it will “damage” world hockey.
The country’s hockey fraternity felt that Hockey India’s calls for an unconditional apology from PHF over the 2014 Champions Trophy incident is unjustified.
The PHF was taken aback recently when it learnt that India was not sending its junior team for a tournament in Malaysia in October because Pakistan was among the participating nations.
Hockey India officials made it clear that until Pakistan apologised publicly and unconditionally for the Champions Trophy incident, they would not participate in any event in which Pakistan is playing.
The PHF also received a setback recently when they were kicked out of the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia. India is also among the nations playing in the Azlan Shah event.
Last December Pakistan’s junior team was not a part of the World Cup in India.
“I just hope that the Indian hockey officials see sense and stop this boycott because it will not help international hockey,” a top PHF official said.
“Pakistan is no longer a power house in world hockey and has dropped in rankings, which is why everyone is treating it this way. But they forget the influential role played by Pakistan in making field hockey a popular sport in the world,” he said.
Former captain and Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui said the Asian hockey federation needed to play a role in ending the stand-off between Pakistan and India.
“Hockey India is not being fair and they are trying to hurt Pakistan hockey but in the end it will damage world hockey,” he warned.
Shahnaz Sheikh, who was the coach of the Pakistan team when the incident took place in the Champions Trophy in December, 2014, insisted that Pakistan had already apologised for their players’ behaviour.
“We apologised and our players were penalised so what else do they want us to do,” Sheikh, a former Olympian, said.