Pak cries foul, says ouster from Junior Hockey WC 'pre-planned'

| Updated: Nov 29, 2016 18:30 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], Nov. 29 (ANI): Lashing out at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for inviting the Malaysian junior men's team to replace Pakistan in the upcoming Junior Hockey World Cup, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) said the move by the games' international governing body was 'pre-planned'. Earlier, the Pakistan Government had granted NOC to the country's Hockey Federation to participate in the tournament. However, the Indian High Commission kept PHF and players waiting for the visa till Monday, the deadline for PHF to confirm their participation in the tournament beginning December 8 in Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow. As a result, the FIH was forced to officially withdraw Pakistan's name from the event. PHF Secretary Shehbaz Ahmed said that it was not Pakistan who delayed any schedule obligation and blamed the Indian authorities for not issuing visas to the visiting delegation before the deadline. "Our government had timely issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for players to take part in the tournament, but it is sad that Pakistan will not be able to take part in Junior Hockey World Cup," Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Dawn. "We had planned training camps for our players so how can we delay any schedule to jeopardise our participation. I had already seen it coming that this decision by FIH is going to go against Pakistan," he added. Earlier, the FIH, currently headed by India's Dr Narendra Batra, in a statement said, "FIH regrets that Pakistan's men's junior team will not be able to take part in this year's Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup even though they had officially qualified." "FIH's decision follows considerable discussions with the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and requests for confirmation that they had the necessary arrangements in place to be able to participate in the event," it added. The FIH blamed Pakistan for applying for visas after the deadline issued. "Visas had been applied for after the official deadline and no accommodation was confirmed within the set deadlines. Despite a number of correspondence and reminders, the PHF was not able to show that their team would be able to travel to Lucknow for the event which begins in only a few days' time," the statement added. However, Pakistan claims that it had issued NOCs to the Pakistan Junior team for taking part in the event on November 19. There have also been speculations that Pakistan might not tour India in the wake of the escalating tensions between two Asian neighbours on the Line of Control (LoC). (ANI)