The International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) decision to withdraw Pakistan from the Junior World Cup did not go down well with the PHF with its secretary Shahbaz Ahmad terming the move as “ridiculous.”
“It has come as a big shock to us because we were doing our best to convince the Indian High Commission to issue us visas for the tournament,” Ahmad said on Wednesday.
The FIH, on Monday, withdrew Pakistan from the list of 16 participating nations in the World Cup due to be held from December 8 to 18, saying the Pakistan Hockey Federation had applied late for the visas and had not even fulfilled confirmation requirements before the given deadline. The FIH has replaced Pakistan with Malaysia in the mega-event.
Shahbaz, a former Pakistan captain, said that the PHF had sent applications for visas to the Indian High Commission on October 24 well before the FIH deadline of November 28 to confirm entries from teams.
“Obviously we can’t book hotels and make other travel arrangements until the visas are issued which they were not until today (Wednesday),” he said. “We had got funds from the government for the tournament so there were no monetary issues at all. It is sad but strange that just after an Indian, Narinder Batra has taken over as FIH President this harsh decision has been made.”
Shahbaz said Pakistan at the recent FIH congress in Dubai, PHF has made it clear to the Indian delegation that they wanted cordial ties and resumption of bilateral series.
The Olympian also pointed out that the Asia Cup and the World Cup were scheduled to be held in India in 2017 and 2018 and keeping the two events in mind they have taken up the matter with the Pakistani government. Former Olympian Samiullah felt Batra had taken revenge for the way Pakistan celebrated after beating India in the semi-final of 2014 Champions Trophy in India.