Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Nov.29: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has invited the Malaysian junior men’s team to replace Pakistan in the Uttar Pradesh Hockey Junior World Cup Men beginning in Lucknow on December 8. Earlier, the Pakistan Government had granted NOC to the country’s Hockey Federation to participate in the tournament. However, the Indian High Commission kept Pakistan Hockey Federation and players waiting for the visa till Monday, the deadline for PHF to confirm their participation in the tournament.
As a result, the FIH was forced to officially withdraw Pakistan’s name from the event. “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,” the FIH said in a statement. The FIH, which is headed by India’s Dr Narendra Batra, blamed Pakistan for applying 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. 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).