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All nine Pak players sent back

The simmering tension on the Indo-Pak border on Tuesday spilled over to the sporting arena with a rattled Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league following protests over the killing of Indian soldiers.

After protests by Shiv Sena and other right-wing organisations disrupted the training and the first match of the league, Hockey India took the decision to send back the Pakistani players considering the ‘extra-ordinary circumstances.’

‘After discussion with all the stakeholders, Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation have mutually decided to send them (Pakistan players) back due to an extra-ordinary situation which has arisen,’ Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told reporters.

The nine players to be sent back are Mahmood Rashid, Fareed Ahmed, Muhammad Tousiq, Imran Butt (Mumbai Magicians), Mohammed Rizwan Sr and Mohammad Rizwan Jr (Delhi Waveriders), Kashif Shah (Jaypee Punjab Warriors) and Muhammed Irfan and Shafqat Rasool (Ranchi Rhinos).

‘We kept all stakeholders the franchises, PHF and HI in the loop during these discussions. We took all on board before making this decision. The contract money for 2013 will be paid in full to the Pakistani players and HI stands committed in guaranteeing the same.,’ he added.

Batra also said the franchises, who had to release Pakistani players, were free to seek replacements. ‘The franchises which own Pakistani players can ask for replacements. They can select from the reserve pool within their allocated budget,’ Batra said. Mahmood Rashid was the most expensive of the Pakistani players with a price of $41,000 (approx Rs 22.32 lakh) while Tousiq went for $27,000 in the auction.

HI had initially decided to send back the Pakistani players of Mumbai Magicians franchise only but fearing that the league could be affected by disruptions, it took the decision to send back all the players.
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